Tag Archives: vegan

Cupcakes galore

It is the weekend (or it was while I typed out this post), and that means baking and leisure cooking. I kicked off my Saturday with this awesome Harissa spiced zucchini and tofu “frittata” and then continued on with some Chocolate Orange Ginger Cupcakes.

I know that I am going to be a little late/completely miss the cupcake bandwagon, but I made 2 batches of cupcakes this weekend, and have plans to make many more this week because I. Can. Not. Stop.  This has it’s pluses and minuses. A plus is that I really enjoy baking, and I am looking forward to getting creative with cupcakes. However, I am going to Hawaii next week… so maybe eating 2+ cupcakes a day isn’t an awesome pre-bathing suit plan?

I loved many things about these cupcakes. First of all, they rose so nicely and had this beautiful domed top that was perfect on its own and didn’t need frosting. And I actually really don’t like frosting, so I just put a smear of the recommended glaze and sprinkled on some crystalized ginger for the win. They were chic, classic, and completely delicious.

The coffee ended up being a pretty prominent flavor, so I may recommend water instead if you don’t want the coffee thing going on. Also, feel free to up the orange zest and ginger for an even more in your face flavor punch. Either way, they were totally moist and fluffy and delicious and everything you want a cupcake to be. I will warn you though, I did eat maybe 4-6 of these bad boys within 24 hours of making them. Ya…


Chocolate Orange Ginger Cupcakes

Adapted from Kohler Created
Materials:
For the Cupcakes
  • 1 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1/3 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup coffee
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons crystalized ginger, ground up
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
For the Topping
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons orange juice
  • crystalized ginger, roughly chopped
Methods:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  2. Mix together all dry ingredients.
  3. Add coffee through orange juice and thoroughly mix.
  4. Slowly, while mixing, add in vinegar.
  5. The batter will foam a bit a turn white, set aside until mixture darkens again.
  6. Divide batter between 12 cupcake liners and place in oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, cool in pan for 5 minute, and then move to cooling rack.
  8. To Decorate: Mix together the powdered sugar and orange juice until fully dissolved, brush tops of cupcakes with the glaze, and sprinkle on crystallized ginger.
  9. Enjoy!
    1. You will probably want to eat 1 or 2 immediately, you know, to test them out.

 

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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

My guess is that it is that time of the summer when everyone is getting pretty sick of zucchini. When you think you can’t possible find another way to use it and these little green gems are haunting your dreams.

As I was watching my zucchini plant take over my life earlier in the summer, I planned ahead. I gathered an arsenal of recipes and spaced them out throughout the summer. While many probably skip straight to the zucchini bread to use up this abundant summer time crop, I strategically decided to save it until last. And the day finally came for my first loaf of zucchini bread. I had been making chocolate zucchini cookies all summer, and have fallen in love with the combination of chocolate and zucchini. Therefore chocolate chip zucchini bread it was.

I have had a bit of a rough week, and therefore my garden was being a bit neglected (i’m sorry, garden!), but when I finally got out there the other day, I discovered this HUGE zucchini which was hiding behind some foliage. Oops.

But that is ok, because it gave me the prompt I needed to bust out this amazing zucchini bread. The timing was perfect, seeing as macho M was returning home the following day, and would most likely consume the bread. In its entirety (well, the half that our new roommate K and I didn’t finish). The zucchini and applesauce means it is über moist, the whole wheat flour gives it a hearty edge, and the chocolate chips means it is just plain delicious! Awesome A was quoted as saying “this is seriously the best thing I have ever eaten.” While she was probably just being nice because I was having an awfully rough night, it was some pretty seriously good eats. So try out this twist on zucchini bread for your final zucchini harvests!

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
Adapted from Eating Clean Recipes
Materials:
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup finely shredded zucchini, squeezed and drained of extra liquid
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Methods:
  1. Grease 8×4 inch loaf pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together almond milk and vinegar and let set for about 2 minutes, until thickened.
  4. To the milk mixture, add the sugar, oil, applesauce, zucchini, and vanilla and stir just until moist.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Spread batter evenly into loaf pan.
  7. Place in oven and bake for 1 hour.
  8. Remove and let cool.
  9. Enjoy!

BBQ Sweet Potato and Kale Pizza

Remember when I went bananas over this sauce? Well it has made another appearance in my kitchen. This past weekend my advisor kindly held a lab summer get together at his house and the theme was vegetarian, so I was stoked. Therefore being the resident vegetarian, I had to bring my A-game. I thought long and hard about what to make, and in the end decided that a BBQ pizza would be perfect: I was thinking I could cut it up into smaller pieces, making it good finger food, and I would make it interesting and vegan so that I could blow people’s minds. But really, at a summer time gathering, who doesn’t love BBQ sauce and pizza? 

Well, I am lucky I made it as “gourmet” as a did… because when I rolled up to the gathering in some ripped jeans and a T-Shirt, I realized it was more of a summer cocktail party than a summer BBQ (which is due to my poor reading skills, the invite never actually said BBQ). My boss had put out quite the spread of fancy hors d’oeuvres and the wine was flowing, so I snuggled my pizza in between some veggie lasagna and Vietnamese salad. 

Speaking of flowing wine, we had a friendly wine tasting competition. He had us blind taste 4 under $15 red wines. We had to identify the grape type, rate it (according to NIH guidelines), and give other general notes. Now, a couple of things you should know about me before I continue the story: 


1) I am really not a huge wine person.
2) Since moving to California, I have tried hard to become a wine person.
3) I have been wine tasting in Napa/Sonoma twice in the last 2 months alone. 
4) When I lived in Italy I could (and often did) take an entire bottle of wine to the face. 


Ok, now that we have all of that clear, I would like to proudly gloat that I WON! While I am sure a lot of it was luck, let’s pretend there was a little bit of skill to it too :-). What put me over the edge to win was when he tried to sneak in a bottle of 2 buck Chuck, I just drew a big sad face on that line. So anyways, it is usually a good idea to impress your new boss with your drinking skills, right? 



But back to my cooking skills! I have made this pizza before, and enjoyed it immensely. It is a little spicy from the chipotle in the sauce, a little sweet from the sweet potatoes, and a little crispy and garden fresh from the kale. I finished it off with a cashew cream drizzle to cool down the spice and tie everything together. I thought it was great, every bite of pizza was gone, and people kept telling me they loved it (but then again, maybe they just wanted me to share my newly won bottle of wine with them ;-)). 

BBQ Sweet Potato and Kale Pizza



Materials:

  • 1 ball of your favorite pizza dough
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced thin (about 1/4″)
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 batch smoked onion and chipotle sauce
  • 1/4 cup cashew cream (but leave out the chipotle quoted in this recipe)

Methods:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss the sweet potato slices with the olive oil and give a shake of salt and pepper.
  3. Arrange sweet potato slices on baking sheet in 1 layer and roast for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
  4. Toss the chopped kale with the balsamic vinegar.
  5. Turn oven up to 450 degrees.
  6. Roll out pizza dough to about 12″, and pre-bake for about 10 minutes.
  7. Spread sauce on the hot crust, neatly lay sweet potato slices, and then cover with kale.
  8. Place back in oven for about 15 minutes. 
  9. Remove from oven and drizzle with cashew cream before serving.
  10. Enjoy!
    1. Best served with friends and coworkers with a full glass of wine. Talking about science is totally optional. 
 

Zucchini cakes

Watching my garden grow this summer has really been quite the treat. It doesn’t get any better than knowing that I am pampering these plants, and that they, in turn, are producing for me delicious organic produce mere steps from my kitchen (seriously, my desire to take care of people/animals/things is out of control). As expected, my zucchini has been the forerunner in production for far, but once my tomatoes start ripening, they will blow the rest of the garden out of the water… eerrr dirt … The current count is at 60 something just between my 2 plants.

In preparing the zucchini that my garden has so graciously gifted to me, I am trying to do my best to showcase them in different ways. No hiding them in zucchini bread for me! First I had the zucchini pasta, and then I made a grilled zucchini salad (which you will see… the pictures just weren’t the best)… and now we are on to zucchini cakes (Oh, so you won’t hide them in bread… but you will hide them in cake. No silly, it is much more like a crab cake or a fritter. Do you even know why crab cakes taste like? No.)

In order to make these zucchini cakes an entrée, I added some quinoa to the mix, served them with a side salad… and then, ya know, just whipped up an aioli, of the garlic-herb variety, to go on top. I seriously enjoyed these immensely. The quinoa gave them a nice crunch, but the flavor was totally zucchini. And honestly? I didn’t use old bay so that they would be reminiscent of crab cakes, for I am not a fan of making veg food that pretends to be non-veg food. I used old bay because a) I was trying something different and b) it has a really nice mix of celery salt, mustard, and paprika that I thought would be yummy… and I was correct! The garlic and herb aioli gives it a nice kick, and the smooth lettuce underneath cushioned all of it so gently. I will totally be making this again.

Zucchini Cakes

Materials:
For the Zucchini Cakes

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 3/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon old bay seasoning
  • 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon flax meal + 3 tablespoons water)
  • 1 tablespoon vegan mayonaise
  • salt and pepper
For the Herbed Aioli

  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonaise
  • 1 clove garlic
  • juice from 1 half lemon
  • small handful of fresh herbs of choice
  • salt and pepper
Methods:
For the Zucchini Cakes

  1. Shred the zucchini using a cheese grater, sprinkle the shreds with salt and let sit in colander in sink for 30 minutes.
  2. Squeeze out all of the extra moisture from the zucchini and blot dry with paper towels.
  3. Mix the zucchini with all of the remaining ingredients.
  4. Form mixture into patties of about 2 tablespoons each… recipe makes about 10 cakes.
    • Be careful: they will come together… but they will be delicate.
  5. Place patties in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
  6. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  7. Pan fry in two batches, for roughly 3 minutes on either side, or until nicely browned.
    • Once browned, move to paper towel lined plate.
  8. Enjoy!
    • Serve warm and topped with herbed aioli (recipe below).
    • These are great atop a fresh salad or served inside lettuce wraps.

For the Herb Aioli

  1. Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.

Frozen Friday: Roasted Banana with Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream

Hello and the happiest of Fridays to you! I have had an interesting week filled with highs and lows, and I am still trying to make heads or tails of some of it. But at this moment, none of that matters because I am here to share ice cream with you. And I could think of no better way to end my week (unless, of course, I could convince you to come to my house to share delicious vegan ice cream on my balcony overlooking SF… just saying).

My list of ice creams to try for the summer is growing, and I am learning a bunch about ice cream making with every batch I make. For now I am sticking to simple and obvious[ly delicious] flavor combinations… but I look forward to playing with fun flavors and textures. An upcoming flavor that I am particularly excited about is going to be a spicy marg[arita] ice cream. Ya, that is happening.

Now, since I am starting with classic flavor combinations, the only logical next step from chocolate-coconut was banana-peanut butter. Oh, but how about I roast the bananas first and then use freshly ground peanut butter from Berkeley Bowl. Oh, no she didn’t! Or in the words of Ridiculous R, “who did that?!”

Seriously though, this ice cream was the bomb.com. And I would even go so far as to say it is good for you. And I am not talking “good for you as far as ice cream goes” (huge pet peeve of mine when people eat low fat ice cream and say things like “look, I am being somewhat healthy!”)… I am talking about this is a great afternoon pick me up snack type good for you. The only ingredients are coconut milk, banana, and peanut butter. In fact, I totally plan on having a bowl of this when I get home from work. And it is going to be awesome. So please, go make this ice cream, and then share it with as many friends as possible :-).

Yes that is my reflection in the spoon. And yes I am wearing an argyle sweater with lululemon yoga pants.
Roasted Banana and Peanut Butter Ice Cream
 
Materials:
  • 1 can coconut milk (full fat)
  • 2 bananas, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter

Methods:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Toss banana slices with olive oil and maple syrup.
  3. Roast banana slices in oven for 30 minutes, stirring once half way through.
  4. Place bananas (and the syrup in the baking dish) with coconut milk in blender and blend thoroughly.
    • Taste at this point in time, if you want it a little sweeter than add a little bit of your sweetener of choice.
  5. Allow mixture to cool in refrigerator.
  6. Place mixture in ice cream maker and churn for 15 minutes.
  7. Add peanut butter to the ice cream maker and churn for additional 5 minutes.
  8. Transfer to freezer and allow to set up in freezer for about an hour.
  9. Enjoy!

More corn and more salad

Ok, the time has come. I have no flight reservations coming up, no trips, no big school events, etc. And I couldn’t be more excited! I had a few weeks of travel that all culminated with my birthday weekend this past weekend (Happy Birthday to me!). I had an amazing birthday where I felt immensely loved and taken care of, which is the best way to spend your birthday. From a new (zoom) lens from my amazing parents and a family reunion at some old stomping grounds in Michigan to a surprise birthday dinner at Chez Panisse and homemade birthday cakes in Berkeley from my amazing friends… it truly was a treat and I feel very blessed!

But alas, time to get down to business around here, especially as summer produce is flooding our farmers markets and our gardens. When vegetables are grown organically and picked fresh and ripe, they are at their most nutritious. When farmed organically (without the use of pesticides, etc), the plants must rely on their natural defenses to stay alive. This means that they produce more protective compounds, which are then passed on to you when you eat it. Also, when they are at their ripest, it is when the plant is saying, “ok, i’m ready for my seeds to be spread, in return I will give you a nutrient packed treat!” So, I encourage you to take advantage of the produce that is out right now!

Which brings me to this salad. I was in Michigan, which for anyone who has visited there, has lots of corn… and a 100 degree day on the 5th of July was a perfect day for this corn salad that my mom has been waiting to try out. It is the perfect refreshing dish for a summer barbecue. We added some chickpeas to it to make it a filling main dish and served it at a little get together and it was enjoyed by all! I jazzed it up a bit with extra basil and some mint and it was incredibly palate pleasing and a great way to cool down on a hot day. Also, a big shout out to Elaine for providing the adorable star plate and the other props for this dish :-).

Fresh Corn Salad
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
 
Materials:
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 ears fresh corn, kernels cut off
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 bell pepper (I used orange), finely diced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 cups arugula
Method:
  1. Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper, and set aside to allow the sugar to dissolve while preparing the rest of the salad.
  2. Toss together the fresh corn kernels with the fresh of the finely diced vegetables and dressing.
  3. At serving, gently fold in the arugula.
  4. Enjoy!
    • Preferably with family and friends at a summer BBQ :-).

Many apologies via parsley pesto

I owe you an apology. Many apologies, in fact. I have been MIA. Sure, I could go on and on telling you how busy I have been, and while that is partly true, I refuse to use it as an excuse. My free time has been jam packed with one social obligation after another, though. I had a friend visiting, during which time I spent my days in Napa, visiting Alcatraz, trekking in Muir woods, BBQing, or stuffing my face with food truck food. I was also away for 10 days at a conference in New Hampshire on lipoprotein metabolism (which was exhausting, awesome, and filled with wonderful people). Not to mention the plethora of needless eating out I have been doing. And then on the days that I was just chilling at home… I wasn’t making anything noteworthy.

That is with the exception of this parsley pesto… which I made weeks ago… and am only posting now. So embarrassing.

Parsley overfloweth in my herb garden, so I knew I wanted to do some garden fresh parsley-heavy dish. And what better way to use up a big bunch of parsley than to blend it into a fresh pesto?! I didn’t have any pine nuts on hand, but I did have some walnuts… and obviously plenty of garlic.

I tossed this pungent (and I mean that in the best of ways… the parsley flavor is very strong in a very very good way) sauce over some quinoa pasta with some fresh cherry tomatoes and called it a night. Simple as that! And then I enjoyed it on my balcony, looking at my newly trimmed herb garden. Next up, the mint and the pineapple sage need some tending to… in general expect some herb heavy recipes this summer.

Parsley Pesto
Materials:
  • 1 bunch of parsley (roughly 2 cups), stems removed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • olive oil (ends up being about 1/2 cup)
  • salt
  • pepper
Methods:
  1. Add the parsley, walnuts, garlic and lemon juice to a food processor and process until a uniform paste forms.
  2. With the food processor running, stream in the olive oil until a smooth sauce consistency is reached.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Toss with pasta and enjoy!
    • If serving with pasta, reserve a bit of the pasta water to thin out the sauce and help it coat the pasta nicely.