Portuguese Sweet Bread ‘Sem Ovos e Leite’

Massa Sovada (Sweet Bread). I last made it in 2011 and being a big baker, I wondered why I hadn’t made it again in over 3 years!?! The answer – it just wasn’t the same as Mom’s. So, I canned the recipe and tried a new one (Original recipe retrieved from here and modifications from Vegan Dad here).

As you can see, the second time around was a huge improvement in volume and rise!

Massa (2011)

Massa (2011)

Massa Sovada (2014)

Massa (2014)

This time around, the bread was more chewy, soft, and delicious! BUT, the only flour I had to use in the house was Whole Wheat White from Trader Joe’s. The Whole Wheat definitely makes the break healthier, but zaps the light sweetness from the bread. Alas, I will have to continue to experiment to find just the right combination of ingredients to make a perfect vegan sweet bread. The saga continues, hopefully sooner than three years from now!

Here’s the newer recipe, vegan-ized. Thanks, Tara.

Ingredients
3 pkg dry active yeast (I used 2 1/2 because I didn’t have anymore)
1/2 c water (110 degrees)
2 c almond milk
2 c sugar
1/2 c Earth Balance butter
1/2 c shortening
3/4 tsp salt
10 c flour (I would definitely use all-purpose or bread vs. whole wheat)
8 tbsp flax meal + 1/2 c water, mixed (substitute for eggs in the recipe)
1 tsp light corn syrup + 1 tbsp vanilla almond/coconut milk, mixed for “egg wash”

Directions
1. Dissolve yeast in water and let rise to double in size.
2. Mix together flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, melt butter and shortening in milk over medium heat and cool to lukewarm. Beat eggs and sugar together.
3. Mix all ingredients together and knead until dough lifts neatly from bowl. Let rise, usually six to eight hours.
4. Punch down, deflating the dough. Form individual breads and put in buttered and floured pans (most any shape or size will do). The dough should fill only half the pan. Let rise again until dough doubles in size, filling the pan.
5. Brush top of dough with beaten egg.
6. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes (adjust longer cook time for larger loaves). The bread should be golden brown.

Savory Spinach, Tofu and Cheese Crepes with Truffle Oil

Crepe

My wife introduced me to savory vegan crepes from What Crepe? in Royal Oak, Michigan. I decided to experiment with the concept at home and, with some perfecting of “the flip” our crepes are simple, delicious, and satisfying. The most difficult part of making these is being able to flip the thin pancake completely over without tearing it. You can use a spatula to assist, though I’ve found that it gets even trickier with added props. Best performance is with a quick flick of the wrist using a flat griddle pan.

Filling

1 Firm Tofu, cubed 1/2 in x 1/2 in or smaller (frozen overnight, thawed for approx. 2 hours)
1/2 yellow or sweet onion, sliced thinly and coursly chopped
2-3 garlic cloved, minced
1 c Baby Spinach
1/2-1 c Daiya Mozzarella Cheese
Canola oil
Truffle Oil, for later

1. I freeze my tofu these days because the texture is unmatched, a little chewy and grills well. First into a frying pan with some oil goes the tofu cubes until lightly browned, then add the onion 2-3 min on medium heat, then garlic.

2. Lastly the spinach goes in along with cheese to finish off until wilted and cheese melted. You can start preparing the crepe batter while this is cooking or switch to the batter, then reheat the filling a bit before pulling everything together.

Vegan Crêpes

1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup water
4 Tbsp. nondairy margarine, melted
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. American maple syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Oil, for frying

1. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, blend together the soy milk, water, nondairy margarine, sugar, maple syrup, and salt. Add the flour and mix again. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 2 hours.

2. Lightly oil a small nonstick skillet or crêpe pan (or griddle, like I used) and place it over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, pour in 1/4 cup of the batter and swirl it until it covers the entire bottom of the pan. Cook the crêpe until it is golden then flip it and cook the other side.

Makes 12 to 14 crêpes or 9-10 bigger ones depending on how much filling you want to use and how risky you are with making a big crepe and then trying to flip it!

Pulling it Together

1. Scoop 3/4 c of filling and place in the center of a crepe. Add a dash of salt and then drizzle just a tiny bit of black truffle oil lengthwise on the filling. Fold the sides over the filling, left then right, and flip so the fold disappears on the plate. We like salt in our house, so I put just a tiny bit of salt over the top of the crepe and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Crepe batter recipe from: http://www.peta.org/living/food/vegan-crepes/#ixzz3LV3OeVpa

Lemongrass Ice Cream & Pineapple Compote (V)

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Mmmmm. Warm, sweet pineapple with fresh homemade ice cream is the perfect finish to the day. I pulled this recipe from Vegan Dad and tweaked the ice cream making, mainly because I don’t have an ice cream machine and did it the old fashion way-putting it into my freezer then taking it out and stirring it every 20-minutes for two hours : )

Plus, I added a fine layer of chocolate to the ice cream, just because. Here’s the altered recipe from Vegan Dad.

INGREDIENTS
Ice Cream
- 2 stalks of lemongrass
- 1 400 ml can coconut milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp corn starch or arrowroot powder
- 1 cup soy milk
- pinch of salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 c chocolate chips, melted


Pineapple Compote
- 1 pineapple
- 1/4 cup margarine
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- juice of 1 lime

METHOD
Ice Cream
1. Trim lemon grass stalks and slice lengthwise down the centre.  Bruise the stalks by bashing them with a rolling pin, then cut into whatever size will fit into your saucepan.  Add coconut milk, sugar, and salt and place over medium heat.  Bring it to just bubbling, then reduce heat and let simmer for about 15 mins, or until lemongrass is wilted and translucent. 
2. Strain coconut mixture through a fine sieve to remove lemongrass.  If needed, add more coconut milk or soy milk to make 3 cups.  Return to saucepan over medium heat.
3. Whisk cornstarch or arrowroot powder into the 1 cup of soy milk to dissolve, then whisk into coconut milk mixture.  Bring to just bubbling, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
4. Let mixture fully cool in the fridge for 45 minutes. Then use your ice cream machine or do it by hand, like I did. The method: once cool, stir with a whisk then put in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. Take it out and whip it vigeourisly with a whisk to crush all the small ice crystals. Put it back in for 20-30 minutes and repeat several times over a 2-hour period. You’ll have to switch to a wooden spoon eventually. When it’s a little firmer than soft serve, you’ll want to drizzle in the melted chips (I use a double boiler to melt it down). Then put it back in the freezer and next time you stir it, the sweet chocolate chips will find a hidden place in the ice cream you can later find with your spoon!

Pineapple Compote
1. Trim and core the pineapple and cut into 1/2″ chunks.
2. Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat.  Add margarine and when melted, add pineapple.  Cook for about 15 mins, stirring regularly, or until the pineapple begins to lightly brown.   (The pineapple will release its juice, that will cook down, and then the pineapple will start to brown up.)
3.  Add sugar and lime juice to the pan and cook/stir for 1 min, making sure the pineapple is nicely glazed.  Serve warm with the ice cream.

Tempeh BACON, SPINACH, AND PINEAPPLE PIZZA

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The Amazing Dough

3 1/2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon instant or Rapid Rise yeast
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoons water, room temperature

  1. Combine flour, salt, yeast, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in bowl of stand mixer (see *note for mixer-free version). Whisk to combine. Add water to mixer and mix on medium speed until it comes together and no dry flour remains. Increase speed to medium-high and mix until the dough is stretchy and smooth, about 6 minutes. The dough should stick to the bottom of the bowl but pull away from the sides.
  2. Pour remaining olive oil into rimmed baking sheet and spread over entire inner surface with hands. Transfer dough to 13- by 18-inch rimmed baking sheet and rub top surface with oil until thoroughly coated. Cover with baking sheet with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature until dough has spread out to touch nearly each rim of baking sheet, about 2 hours.
  3. 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 550°F. Carefully remove plastic wrap from pizza dough. Using oiled hands and being as gentle as possible to maintain air bubbles, push and stretch the dough into the corners of the pan by pressing out from the center and lifting each corner and stretching it beyond the edge of the pan. It should pull back until the pan is just filled with dough.

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The “Bacon”

1 8-ounce package tempeh
½ c tamari or soy sauce
2 tsp liquid smoke
3 tbs maple syrup
¼ c water
Canola oil for frying

  1. Cut tempeh into strips and steam for 10-minutes
  2. Meanwhile, combine tamari, smoke, syrup, and water and mix well.
  3. Place the tempeh in the marinade, let sit for at least 10-minutes.
  4. Add canola to pan and fry tempeh about 5-minutes each side, while pouring a little marinade on to caramelize until crispy.

Other Toppings

1/3 cup pineapple tidbits
2 cups spinach, chopped
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3 cups Daiya mozzarella cheese

  1. Cook the onions in the tempeh “grease” until blackened and crispy.
  2. Spread 1 cup of cheese across the dough, then layer spinach, pineapple, bacon, onion, and basil. Top with the remaining cheese.
  3. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

photo 4The Wilmington Vegan Society after some yummy food, including the pizza you’re about to make : )

Dough Note: To make without a stand mixer, combine flour, salt, yeast, and olive oil in a large bowl. Whisk to combine, then add water. stir together vigorously with a wooden spoon until homogeneous, about 3 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 15. Continue with step 2 as directed.

Vegan Butternut Squash Ravioli with Spinach Pesto

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Filling

1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (Earth Balance)
3/8 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
½ c Italian Bread Crumbs

photo 2

Pesto

2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup fresh basil
2 tbps Nutritional Yeast (the Parm Cheese substitute)
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped, and divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons organic vegetable broth
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1-2 cups water (1/2 c shown in picture, maybe a bit too thick)

Ravioli

1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Durum Semolina
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2/3 Cup Water

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Place squash halves, cut sides down, on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until tender. 10-minutes into baking, prepare ravioli dough. In a medium bowl, combine the ingredients using a fork until they start to come together. Using your hands, knead the dough lightly in the bowl until it is smooth and uniform. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
  2. When squash is ready, let cool briefly then scoop out pulp; discard peel. Mash pulp. Combine oregano, squash pulp, and butter in a large bowl. 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  3. Prepare pesto: Place garlic in a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped. Add remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, spinach, basil, and 2 tablespoons walnuts. With processor on, slowly pour oil, broth, and juice through food chute. Process until well blended. Place pesto in a large bowl.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into two parts, covering one with a damp tea towel. Using a rolling pin, roll out the remaining dough as thin as possible. You don’t want to be able to see through it, but it should be quite thin. If you are fancy and have a pasta maker you can use that and save yourself some grief. Using a cookie cutter or a clean drinking glass, cut out rounds approximately 2 inches in diameter. On half the rounds, place one teaspoon of the filling directly in the middle, then wet your finger with warm water and trace around the filling. Top with an empty dough round and press to seal. Use a fork to firmly seal up the raviolis. Once the first batch of raviolis is done, toss them into the boiling water and cook until they float to the top, around 3 – 5 mins tops, then drain. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
  5. Add ravioli to pesto; toss gently to coat. Arrange 6 ravioli on each of 6 plates; sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon walnuts.

    photo 3

The above recipe is a compilation/fusion of several recipes to make it vegan and work:

http://gamerwife.com/2011/10/07/recipe-vegan-butternut-squash-ravioli-with-sage-butter-sauce/

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/butternut-squash-ravioli-50400000125719/

Wilmington Vegan Society Dinner Party!

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My wife and I shared a fantastic, fresh and healthy plant-based dinner with new friends in Wilmington, NC. After finding just the right dinner table at “Mango Furniture,” the stage was set for a night of fun and good food. We’re so thankful for our new friends and their support of the Wilmington Vegan Society. It has been a joy to be an organizer for the society, meeting beautiful folks with huge hearts and an eternal curiosity about healthy food and a better world.

Below you’ll find the night’s recipes, found in other great places in print or on the web. The only missing recipe is dessert: one single chilled strawberry covered in vegan semi-sweet chocolate : )

Crusted Oyster Mushrooms (you’ll find the recipe here).

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Fruity Spinach Salad

8 c baby spinach
3 oranges peeled, sliced, quartered
2 cucumbers, peeled, sliced, quartered
¼ c raw sunflower seeds
1 c raspberries
¼ c balsamic vinegar + 1 tbs red wine vinegar
½ c extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

Toast sunflower seeds for a few minutes with light olive/canola oil spray. Then, in a medium-size bowl, combine spinach, oranges, cucumbers, and seeds.

Pour vinegars into warm pan and reduce over medium heat for a couple minutes. Blend together raspberries, reduced vinegars, and extra virgin olive oil, then drizzle over salad, toss, or serve beside for guests to use as they want.

Modified from “The Vegan Table” – Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
http://www.amazon.com/The-Vegan-Table-Unforgettable-Entertaining/dp/1592333745

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Crowd-Pleasing Pasta with Tomatoes & Artichokes

16 oz penne pasta
2 tbs olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 can (26 oz) diced tomatoes
2 tbs tomato paste
1 (15oz) can artichokes (with or without olive oil)
1 tbs chopped fresh basil
½ cup sliced black olives
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions: Cook penne until al dente. Drain right before serving. In a large sauté pan, heat oil. Cook garlic for 2-3 minutes. Do not brown. Add tomatoes and paste, heat to near boiling. Add artichokes, basil, and black olives. Season with salt and pepper. Serve penne in a large poul, pouring sauce over and mixing together. Or serve with sauce on the side.  Yields 6 servings.

From “The Vegan Table” – Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
http://www.amazon.com/The-Vegan-Table-Unforgettable-Entertaining/dp/1592333745

Valentine’s Day is For Vegans

Devin Paisley

Devin Paisley

Being vegan is about more than just food, it’s about love and sex too.

Think about the first crush you ever had. Walking down the hall at school and seeing that super hot guy walking toward you, your eyes meet for a moment, and chills burst through your body with excitement. You’re consumed by him. Intoxicated. You want more.

Remember the first time you fell in love. The scent of subtly sweet perfume, her body up against yours, infatuated with her smile, her laugh, her need for you. Feeling loved completely, wondering how you ever found this person and hoping she always loves you back.

You crave and fall in love with the person who stands out in that way that connects with your innermost wild. And if you’re vegan, that wild isn’t only fun and naughty, it’s also passionate, loving, and intelligent – what could be more sexy than that!

So this Valentine’s Day, my fellow vegans, bring out the wild.

Forget the downtown carriage ride, that’s just plain mean. And our beloved Riverboat’s two hour cruise isn’t serving up a cruelty-free buffet option. Instead, keep it intimate, keep it close.

Make dinner at home and add some hot peppers, asparagus, and dark chocolate to your menu. Craft a cute construction paper card with sweet memories from the last year. If a gift is a must, order something now to give her. Then look into her eyes, as deep as you can go, and tell her how absolutely amazing she is. Pull her into your arms and make out like it’s the first time. The rest, I’ll let your little veg-head dream up.

Being vegan is about being a lover, of your partner, your body, the animals and our world. Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to celebrate it all.

*And if you’re celebrating solo this year, I know you have an adorable dog or cat to love on, so treat them to something yummy and do lots of cuds!   

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Emilie A

Michigan Pie. A five day recipe.

Michigan Pie. A five day recipe.

Working 11-hour days makes complex recipes difficult. Take for instance, a recipe for “Michigan Pot Pie with Almond Crust” from “Vegetarian Traditions: Favorite Recipes from My Years At the Legendary Inn Season Cafe.” The length of the title might have been a clue about the recipes inside, but this bad boy recipe is long and involved. I started making it on Monday. Today, I learned how to prepare Leeks. Will I get to actually eat this thing by Friday?

Vegan Arancini (Italian Rice Balls)

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I thought we were done with fried Italian food after two posts, and then Arancini came a’ knockin’. Arancini gets its Italian name because of it’s “orange-like” qualities: it’s round, golden, and sweet. These little guys are scrumptious and relatively easy to make.

We made them for our Vegan Meetup in Newport News for an Italian-themed pot luck. Over 20+ vegan friendly folks cooked up amazing food. Our rice balls got gobbled up with the rest of the lot. Vegan wife suggested we go with a different cheese center, but she loved the salty sweet flavor of this Italian treat. The recipe for the rice balls comes from a fantastic food blog: “Just a Taste” written by Kelly Senyei. She does a lovely job of laying out pictures for each part of the prep and frying process. Go check her blog out for details. Here is her recipe, vegan-ized:

Arancini (Rice Balls) with Marinara Sauce

2 cups cooked white rice, cooled
½ cup shredded Daiya Mozzarella
3 eggz (1 = 3 tbs Chickpea flour w/ 3 tbs of warm water)
8 small cubes Daiya Jalapeño Garlic Wedge (I used cheddar, and think this would be better)
1 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
Vegetable Oil, for frying
1 cup marinara sauce (store-bought or house)

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Place a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat and add enough vegetable oil to rise 4 inches in the pot.

Combine the rice, shredded cheeze and 1 “egg” in a medium bowl and use your hands to thoroughly combine the mixture.

Form each arancini by taking a small portion of the mixture, squeezing it firmly and stuffing one cube of Jalapeño Garlic wedge inside each ball. My Arancini was a little bigger than a golfball. Repeat this process to form 8-10 arancini.

Whisk together the remaining 2 eggz. Dip each arancini in the eggz and then in the breadcrumbs, shaking off any excess.

Once the oil reaches 350-375ºF, add 2 or 3 of the breaded arancini to the pot and fry them until golden brown and cooked throughout.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the fried arancini from the pot and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate. Immediately salt the arancini (important to get the salt to stick). Repeat the frying process with the remaining arancini.

Serve the arancini warm with a side of warm marinara sauce.

Thanks Kelly!

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