Sunday, August 28, 2011

Wheat Thins at home

I didn't take pictures because I wasn't sure if this time I had it right.  I did!  But they were all gone before photos could happen.  When I get another batch made I will add a photo.  There is a version of this recipe out there on the web and I adapted from it.  These taste just like the big box version without all the fat and considerably less sodium (but seriously, don't skimp on the salt on top before they go in the oven unless you are a fan of sadness).  

*1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
*1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon paprika
*4 tablespoons earth balance
*1/2 cup plant milk
*1/4 teaspoon vanilla
*Additional salt for topping

1. Combine the flour, sugar, salt and paprika in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and mix it in thoroughly with your mixer, (think pebbles).  Combine the milk and vanilla (I know, but trust me), and add to the flour mixture, mixing until well combined.  Gather into a dough ball by hand at this point.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.

3. Using a pasta roller on the widest setting, slowly turn the dough through.  If you move too fast it will *not* go through in a big piece.  Take the sheets through again on the next smallest setting.  On my machine the first time through is set to 1, the second time is set to 2. Either leave 'rustic' or cut with a rolling blade (pizza or pasta cutter).  If you are hand rolling, work them as thin as you possibly can, avoid using flour during roll out as much as you can.  

4. Transfer the sheets to the baking sheets; you can crowd them together -- they don’t expand while baking. Sprinkle the sheets with salt. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Save the scraps under plastic wrap and re-roll.

5. Bake the crackers until crisp and browned, 5 to 7 minutes. If some of the crackers brown too quickly, remove them and return the remaining crackers to the oven to finish baking. These crackers bake quickly, so watch them closely! Remove the crackers from the oven and cool on a rack; they cool quickly.  Store in airtight containers, assuming they last that long.  :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Crackers for crackers!

Cooling on the rack after a quick 15 min in the oven.  :)
We are testing four awesome cracker recipes this weekend.  None of these are mine but they are AWESOME!

First off is from 500 Vegan Recipes -- my favorite cookbook of all time!

Go to page 97 for this delectable cracker recipe!  It takes two minutes in the mixer and moments with the pasta roller to get perfect cracker dough.  We then just cut them with our little pasta cutter.  They aren't the dark orange you get from a box but they pack all the cheesy flavor of those pre-made store bought crackers.  I promise.

1 C Flour, 1/3 C Nooge, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and 4 Tbs earth balance. 

After you add the 1/4 C soy milk just gather into a dense ball

I rolled this first batch by hand; second batch PASTA ROLLER!

Crackers after cutting with adorable animal cutters by the proud assistant.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Enchilada Casserole

Here is the totally animal free, sustainable version of my mother-in-law's delicious casserole.  If you have never had an enchilada casserole (or a sad version of one) you are really missing out.  Normally I avoid posting recipes that require a lot of pre-planning or prep work but I'm so very proud of this vegan version of a family favorite that I had to share.  This is not hard, but it does require forethought either in already having some stuff prepped in your freezer or making some of the ingredients earlier in the day. 

This is a very spicy dish so plan on making the Horchata* recipe to go with it and definitely have sour cream available for topping.

You will need:

25 to 30 small corn tortillas (please stick with the corn, flour tortillas are just not the same)
A double batch of Chorizo Seitan crumbles from 500 Vegan Recipes.
One recipe Nacho Cheezy Sauce
2 cans favorite enchilada sauce
2 cans corn
1 can black beans
3 tbsp favorite taco seasoning
oil for the pan
your favorite cold taco toppings for once it comes out of the oven.  We use: shredded lettuce, sour cream, chopped tomato, green onion, black olives and white onion.

Step one is to fry up those corn tortillas on the stove so that they are nice and crunchy but not burnt.  Frying should be done carefully but over a high enough heat that your food cooks very quickly without absorbing the oil.  BE CAREFUL.  Drain them on a cookie sheet lined with several paper towels to absorb any excess oil.

Either prep up your Chorizo from scratch (which seriously is so fast, Steen and Newman are geniuses!) or defrost them out of the freezer completely before assembling your casserole.

Get your batch of Nacho Cheezy going on the stove so it's nice and hot or take it out of the fridge and warm up on the stove so it's easy to work with for assembly.  In the mean time open and drain most of the water off of the corn leaving some for in the pan.  Open up your black beans and rinse them in the can.  Add the corn and beans to a hot skillet with the taco seasoning of your choice.  Get them nice a roasted in the spices for several minutes.  They should end up looking like this:

Now it's time to assemble.  :)  Spray your casserole dish with some oil and then drizzle a bit of enchilada sauce in the bottom of the dish, swirling it around to coat the bottom.  Lay down your first layer of tortillas, then layer in some chorizo, corn & beans, more enchilada sauce and a layer of cheeze.  It'll look a bit like so (minus the cheeze layer which obscures the stuff under it):

Keep going until your dish is full!  We hold back a tiny bit of crumbles, corn and beans to make the top all pretty.

Cook at 350 for about 30 minutes.  Really you just want the center to be hot and the sauces bubbly.  Cut this as you choose and then top with all those wonderful cold toppings and enjoy with a big glass of Horchata!

*I will edit this post later with a link to the veggie version of Horchata recipe.  :)

Friday, August 5, 2011


Hello again guys, sorry I'm not being very consistent on posting.  I keep vacillating between thinking there might be something for me to offer and the feeling that its all been done better somewhere else.  Then I mentioned on Facebook that I'd veganized a scone recipe and here we are.

Scones are super easy.  They are.  I know you have probably had some dry, hard coffee shop 'scone' that tells you differently, but they are easy, dense, sweet, flakey triangles of goodness.  As with most very old styles of food they are so easy we tend to mess them up by trying to make them 'perfect'.

Scones are not designed to be perfected, they are beautiful just as they are.

Chocolate Chip version

1 1/2 tsp Egg replacer
2 Tbsp water (Cold water gives better results)

2 1/2 C flour
1/3 C white sugar
4 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
3/4 C non-dairy butter (Cold!)
1/2 C non-dairy milk (I prefer either soy from powder or unsweetened, unflavored almond milk)
1 C super yummy stir in 
(Semi-sweet chocolate chips, blue berries, huckleberries, raisins, 
currants, slivered almonds, broken hazelnuts, etc, 
avoid anything very big or syrupy.)  

Whip up your eggs till thick & frothy; set aside.

Cut the dry ingredients, (minus your stir in), together with the non-dairy butter with a pastry knife or sharp tined fork.  The butter should be COLD when you start.  You are only cutting them together until a 'pea gravel' consistency happens.  Do not over work this stage.  All the butter will be invisible in the mix but not to a super smooth consistency.

Stir in your yummy stir in now.

Add the milk and eggs, avoid over stirring so you don't activate the gluten in the flour (this is where tough, chewy scones are born).  Use a wooden spoon, stiff spatula or your hands to mix until *just* moistened.

Gather the dough into a ball. Regardless of mixing method this is where you use your hands.  Pull the dough ball together, if it is too dry and crumbly to hold add as much as two Tbsp extra milk.

Transfer the ball to a sheet of parchment paper or silpat mat.  Smoosh the ball down to a flattened round half an inch thick.  It should still be dry enough that the edges will be rough and crumbly.  Pat any strays into the round.  Carefully cut it into eight triangles.  Lay them out on another piece of parchment paper or scootch them apart on the silpat mat, and set it all on top of a baking sheet.  They don't really 'spread' so they only have to be a half inch apart so the sides cook.

Brush the tops lightly with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Don't go crazy here.
Cook for 12 to 15 min in a hot oven set to 425.  The tops should be a light golden brown.  Do not over cook.  Light golden brown.  As with any pastry they finish cooking on the cooling rack.  Serve warm.  :)

I hope you all like these as much as we do!  As you experiment with different mix ins you may prefer adding cinnamon, ground cloves or nutmeg and other sweet spices to the dry mix. Never do more than a teaspoon worth of each or it over-whelms the simple, yet lovely, flavor of the scone.  If you want them sweeter or chocolatey add a tsp of liquid vanilla extract with the milk and eggs or a tablespoon of cocoa powder with the dry.