Nov 28, 2008

Exotic Coconut Muffins

Ok, so it doesn't look so exotic in the picture... but thanks to a trip to the Asian market, the secret ingredient is "Macapuno Strings," or jarred gelatinous(no gelatin!) young coconut. This stuff makes a rich, deliciously moist crumb. It also makes the muffin shiny on top without having to brush on any glaze. The coconut itself is soft vs. the fibrous texture of dried coconut. Watch out- these can be quite addictive!

If you can't get your hands on some macapuno strings, you can substitute 1 cup of regular dried coconut.

Makes about 18 muffins


1 jar (12 oz.) macapuno strings
1 C. sugar
1 (13.5oz) can coconut milk (about 2 cups)
1/4 C. vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 C. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt


In a large bowl, mix together the macapuno strings, sugar, coconut milk, veg oil, and vanilla extract. Mix together the remaining dry ingredients and add to the wet until fully combined. Pour into muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Done when toothpick comes out clean. Let cool a bit before munching.

Nutrition Info: 202 Calories/ 8.4g total fat/ 5g saturated fat/ 31.2g total carb/ 18.8g sugar/ 1.8g fiber/ 1.8g protein/ 233.3mg sodium/ 66.4mg potassium

Nov 27, 2008

Vegan Pot Stickers

A different way to use that leftover seitan...
After making my trial seitan roast, which turned out too chewy and dry, I ground it up in a food processor and mixed in a few ingredients to make a filling for these pot stickers. Being an Asian kid, I learned how to make the skins from my mom. They're soft, chewy, crunchy on the bottom, and a lot better than the store-bought kind! Plus they were always made without eggs.

Pot Sticker Dough


3 C. all purposed unbleached flour (sorry, wheat flours just don't work in this)
3/4 C. warm water


Put flour in a bowl and mix in the water gradually until the mixture starts to come together. Knead until it forms a smooth elastic dough, adding more water or more flour as needed. Wrap dough ball in plastic and put in the fridge to rest.



1/2 C. raw cashews
3/4 C. ground seitan (may substitute TVP, but may need more water to hydrate)
1/2 tsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. soy sauce
3/4 tsp Bryanna's broth powder
4 T. water
1/4 C. green onions
1/4 C. shredded carrots


In a food processor, blend cashews with a little water to form a thin paste (consistency of Elmer's glue). Put ground seitan in a bowl and add remaining ingredients. Mix in cashew paste until combined well.
Cut the dough in half and roll each piece into a rough 1 inch diameter "log" and cut the log into 1" pieces. On a floured surface, press the piece into a round disc and roll thin with a rolling pin. Place about 1 T. of filling into the middle (size may vary according to the size of your wrapper).

Bring opposite edges to the middle and pinch together. Now here's the hard part: one side needs to be pleated, so while pinching the middle with finger tips on one hand, use the other to pleat one side towards the outer edge. Repeat towards opposite edge while holding the middle and form into a crescent shape. If you get frustrated, you can always just pinch them together - just won't be as pretty!


Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and add about 2 T. veg oil to make a thin layer(non-stick skillet is best). Turn heat to high, and start adding pot stickers- you can fit more if you arrange them in a sunburst pattern. Once they start to sizzle, add enough water to cover them almost to their tops. Cover with lid and steam for about 15 minutes or until you hear them start to sizzle again and no more steam is escaping. Don't walk too far away from these, 'cause they'll burn! Check to see if they're nice and brown on the bottom before removing from pan with a spatula. They're not called "pot stickers" for nothin'- so don't skip the cooking spray! Lift them out with a good spatula. To eat: Dip in soy sauce and rice vinegar.


You can make the dough ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Also, feel free to play around with the filling with herbs and seasonings that you like (ginger, cilantro, five spice, lemongrass, etc.).

Nutrition Info (serving size is 2 fat pot stickers): 306 calories/ 6g total fat/ 1g sat. fat/ 267mg sodium/ 174mg potassium/ 52g tot carb/ 4g fiber/ 2.4g sugar/ 12g protein

Nov 26, 2008

Vegan Mac 'n' Cheese

...Or the politically correct name: Mac 'n' CHEEZE (tm). This is the best recipe so far, and pretty versatile. You can use other veggies to make different creamy pasta sauces, like zuchinni & spinach- just make sure you have the potato for the consistency and try to match colors so you don't end up with some weird brown sauce. This combination is surprisingly cheesy, even without nutritional yeast (which you'll find in most vegan cheese recipes).

Serves 4-6 (I usually double it and have leftovers, hopefully!)

8 oz. macaroni
1/2 C. carrots, chopped
1/2 C. onions, chopped
1/2 C. potatoes, chopped
1/2 C. red bell peppers, chopped
1 T. fresh garlic
1/2 C. raw cashews
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
3 T. vegan margarine
1 tsp. salt


Start cooking pasta as directed. Throw chopped veggies (except garlic) in a sauce pan and add water to just cover. Cover with lid and boil until tender. In a food processor, add remaining ingredients and 1/2 C. of broth from the veggies. Process until very smooth, adding a bit more water if it's too stiff and starts to ball up (should resemble the consistency of creamy peanut butter). Add veggies by scooping them out with a hand-held strainer, and process until smooth, adding more salt if needed, or more broth if it needs to be thinned (should look like a thick gravy). Pour mixture into a medium sized casserole dish, and dump in cooked pasta. Mix evenly to coat.


If your mac 'n' cheez is too thick and starchy, just add a little hot water and stir.
Top with French-fried onions if you wanna have extreme "itis"- by slicing an onion, separating the pieces, and rolling in some flour before deep frying... yum!

Nutrition Info: 191 calories/ 11g total fat/ 2.8g sat. fat/ 470mg sodium/ 305mg potassium/ 20g total carbs/ 2.2g fiber/ 2g sugar/ 4g protein

Nov 25, 2008

Veganized Elegant Farmer's Apple Pie

I saw Bobby Flay's apple pie throwdown episode against Wisconsin's famous BrownPaper Bag pie by the Elegant Farmer. It had a basic crust on the bottom with mounds of apples and a sugar cookie crust, baked inside a brown paper bag... how cool is that? Anyway, I decided that I wanted to put a vegspin on it, so I looked up numerous recipes and found plenty of "posers," and finally came up with one that was a combination of three different recipes. The crust was made a bit healthier by using an oil crust recipe from vegweb; the filling was adapted from the Elegant Farmer recipe on the Food Network site, and the cookie topping was adapted from the vegan sugar cookie recipe on Squido. My pal who used to own and run a restaurant and went to culinary school thought it had great flavor and texture, but needed some pectin because it was a bit on the runny side, and also thought it would be pretty to brush it with some soy milk to make it shiny. I thought some white (vegan) sugar sprinkled on cookies would have done the trick too. All in all it was a great pie and everyone gobbled it up- even my friend who doesn't usually like apple pie. Next time, I might just add some pectin or increase the tapioca flour to 3T. to thicken up the juices.

Make crust and cookie dough first.


2 C. All purpose flour
2/3 C. vegetable oil
1/3 C. water


Mix the oil into the flour until fully incorporated. Add the water and mix until a soft dough forms. Wrap in plastic and set it in the fridge.


1/2 C. margarine
4 tsp. vegetable oil
2/3 C. sugar
2 tsp. egg replacer
1/3 C. water
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 2/3 C. all purpose flour (unbleached)
2/3 tsp. baking powder
1/3 tsp. salt


mix the margarine, oil, sugar, egg replacer, water, and vanilla until combined. Throw in remaining ingredients and mix until a soft dough forms. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.


8-10 apples
1/4 C. sugar
1/2 C. brown sugar
4 tsp. tapioca flour
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. butterscotch extract (vanilla if you don't have it)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt


Peel, core, and slice the apples, and toss them with the rest of the ingredients. After chilling for about an hour, roll out the pie crust dough and place into pie pan. Dump the apples in so they mound up towards the center like a dome, then get the cookie dough and roll out to about 1/4" thick (helpful to roll it out between plastic wrap to prevent sticking. Use cookie cutter to cut out shapes of choice, then arrange them all over the top of the pie. Place the pie into a brown paper bag and fold under to close, then put it in the oven for 1 hour. Then take it out and cut a round hole on the top so the top layer is exposed and put back in for another 15 minutes to golden up. Let cool a bit before digging in!

Nov 22, 2008

Vegan Meatloaf Stuffed Pepper Rings

This morning, I was watching the Food Network (I know, I know- the "Evil Empire"), but got some inspiration to put a VegSpin on their stuffed pepper rings. So I took a veg meatloaf recipe that I found in VegNews Magazine from Allison Samson of Allison's Gourmet, and adjusted it a bit. The flavor was soooo good! They could be more "saucy" on top, so you may want to double the amount of sauce. I'll keep everyone posted on any new remixes!

Serves about 10


1 6oz. can tomato paste
2 T. soy sauce
3 T. agave nectar
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
1 T. minced garlic (do extra T. for the loaf)

vegetable oil or margarine for saute
1 C. yellow onion, chopped
1 C. portabello mushrooms, chopped
1/2 C. celery
1/2 C. carrots
3/4 tsp. salt
1 T. soy sauce
3/4 tsp. black pepper
3/4 C. cooked brown rice
1 C. French lentils
1 1/2 tsp. vegan Worchestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. dry mustard (or dijon mustard)
1/4 C. minced cilantro or Italian parsley
1 T. arrowroot powder or Egg Replacer
3/4 C. fresh breadcrums (reserve some extra to top)
1 C. vegan crumbles (like Gimme Lean) or rehydratedTVP (textured veg protein)
1/4 C. vital wheat gluten
4 medium-large red bell peppers


In a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients and set aside. Heat margarine or oil in a skillet, and saute onions (leave half of them raw) and carrots for a few minutes, until slightly tender. Then add the celery, mushrooms, garlic, salt, and pepper and saute for another 3-5 minutes until tender. In the food processor, pulse the rice and lentils about 10 times or until sticky but not smooth. Transfer this to a large bowl. Then pulse the cooked veggies, worchestershire sauce, soy sauce, dry mustard, cilantro, arrowroot, and 1/3 of the tomato sauce about 10 times also. Add that mixture to the bowl and mix in breadcrumbs, TVP (or crumbles), wheat gluten, and raw onions. Mixture should be very stiff and easily moldable.

Now, prepare the rings:

Wash and dry red peppers. Cut the bottoms off so you can see the hollow center. Then cut rings about 1" thick (each pepper should make about 3-4 rings). Remove the inside seeds and stems and arrange onto a lightly greased sheet pan. So as to not waste the bottoms, I chopped them up and mixed them into the veg meatloaf mixture (about 1 cup).

Take the veg meatloaf mixture and press into the center of each ring. Dollop remaining tomato sauce over each one and smooth over. Sprinkle each with leftover bread crumbs and bake 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until peppers are tender enough to cut with a fork. Before taking out of the oven, switch to broil (low) for a few minutes to brown the tops.

I served this with a microwaved potato and side salad. Enjoy!

Nov 21, 2008

Bryanna's Seitan Turkey

I tried out Bryanna Grogan's recipe the other day, using her roulade variation and put my own stuffing in the middle. It was a complicated and time-consuming recipe, since you had to knead, let rest for an hour, knead again, then bake for 3 1/2 hours, turning twice. I suggest that you put several layers of parchment under that sucker so you can use one of the top layers to lift it out and toss it back in. But in the end, it was a much tastier version of a Tofurkey roast, which I never liked because I didn't like its flavor, but the texture was similar. It could also be easily sliced thin. A friend suggested I add a little liquid smoke to the mix- I think I'll try that for the next one, and put a vegan meatloaf in the middle- mmmm! Pics to come.

By the way... anyone try the Seitan Roast with Wild Rice and Chesnut Stuffing from Vegan Dad ? I am itchin' to try that one, and let ya'll know how it turns out!

Guiltless Chocolate Date Bon-Bons

Ok, so at first I called them "Chocolate Date Balls," and my male friends cringed at calling any type of confection "balls." So... I promptly suggested "Chocolate Harry Nut Sacks." Needless to say, that name didn't stick. I have seen a number of "date ball" recipes, and decided to try it on my own. The cocoa powder and date mixture is sinfully good, and makes a great alternative when I'm craving something sweet and chocolatey!


3 C. Dried Dates (pitted)
1/4 C. Cocoa Powder
3-4 Tbs. Water
1 1/2 C. Walnuts, chopped
Dried Coconut Flakes (unsweetened)

Makes about 2 dozen


Put the dates into a food processor, making sure there are NO pits (they're hard as rocks and will get stuck in the blade, and no one wants to bite into one). Add cocoa powder and water, then puree until a sticky ball forms and it's almost smooth- if you like it chunky, process it less, but it must stick together. Scrape out into a mixing bowl and mix in chopped walnuts- the batter will be very stiff. Finally, pour some dried coconut flakes into a shallow bowl, and roll formed date balls to coat.


Try your own variation- I've made cinnamon ones, and cayenne pepper ones, but still prefer the old standard. Adding peanut butter sounds interesting, although not as guiltless! You can also roll them in cocoa powder, crushed nuts, crushed choc chips, or whatever you feel like! Also, try varying the type of nut. They make great gifts if you put them into those little crinkled cups and wrap them in a nice box.

Also, I use two spoons (one bigger than the other) to form the balls by scraping the mixture back and forth between the two. I then use a spoon to roll it in the coconut. The mixture is pretty sticky and sometimes I don't like getting my hands all gunked up... not always, but sometimes.

Under Construction

Yep- this blog is a newbie, but will soon be filled with tempting recipes for all to use or put their own spin on (which is highly encouraged, as this is how we learn). Have fun with it, I say- and find out how much joy there is in putting a non-believer in eye-popping shock as they eat your heavenly creations! I once had a friend who was almost, ok, definitely offended when he was told he was eating soy meat... he felt betrayed, yet somehow managed to lick his plate clean. Ah, the joy!