Monthly Archives: August 2011

Vegan Zucchini Pancakes

Sometimes inspiration comes in the form of ‘payday isn’t for 2 more days, so use what you have in the fridge’.  This recipe comes from precisely that situation. Thank goodness Trillium Haven Farm CSA and Doorganics day was yesterday, so at least there were fresh veggies from which to create goodness.  The result is Vegan Zucchini Pancakes not to be confused with a prior post, Zucchini Fritters which are definitely NOT vegan (goat cheese).

Vegan Zucchini Pancakes

Cucumber Salad (topping)

  • 1 lb tomatoes
  • 2 small cucumbers
  • 1T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp EVOO

Pancakes

  • 1 1/2 zucchini or summer squash, shredded
  • 1 medium, sweet yellow onion
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt (to taste…err on the side of less)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 C egg substitute
  • 1/8 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 3 T flour
  • 2 T fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 2 T Parmesan cheese (if Vegetarian, do not include for Vegan)
Directions:
1.  To create the cucumber salad chop the tomatoes and cucumbers coarsely and top with EVOO and balsamic vinegar.  Set aside.
2.  Grate the zucchini and onion, roll up in paper towel or cheesecloth and squeeze until it is fairly dry.
3.  Combine the pressed zucchini and ionion with garlic, salt, basil, nutmeg, fake eggs, flour, salt and pepper.
4.  Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet.  Pour 1/4 C of the batter into the oiled pan.  The batter will be lumpy.  Let the pancake completely brown on one side then flip to brown the other side.  Remove from the pan and place on paper towels.
5.  When you are ready to serve, top the pancakes with the cucumber salad and enjoy.

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Thanks to a reader for writing in that the original recipe for these pancakes were too salty!  I’ve changed the recipe to account for her feedback.  If you are putting these on a bun or in a flatbread, you will need additional salt, but if just eating as a pancake, please follow the change in added salt.  Thanks!

Zucchini Surplus Yields Sweet Treats

It’s summer in Michigan. What neighbor or friend hasn’t pawned off on your family a plastic bag chock full of zucchini? Don’t scoff at this gift, use it to make killer baked goods and drive them mad with envy at the neighborhood potluck. This post will not only turn out tasty goodies, but more importantly make you LOOK like a kitchen god/goddess.

First up: Blueberry Zucchini Bread

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 3 cups all-purpose whole grain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 4 mini-loaf pans, or 2 large loaf pans.

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, applesauce vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini (I drained mine slightly). Beat in the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gently fold in the blueberries. Transfer to the prepared mini-loaf pans.

Bake 50 minutes in the preheated oven for mini loaves or upwards of 1 hour and 20 minutes (depending on your oven) for the large loaf pans. Play it safe and bake until a knife inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

One funny thing that I noticed during my bread experiment…the pan on the R in the pics was sprayed with Pam and floured, the one on the left was sprayed with Pam but not floured. Look at the difference in loaf shape! I don’t bake too much so this came as a surprise to me.

Next, the show stopper: Zucchini Brownies

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (toasted, optional)

Frosting:

  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. RESIST the urge to look at this mix and say “it needs moisture”. When you add the zucchini, it will all make sense. Fold in the zucchini and nuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched. To make the frosting, melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa and margarine; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the confectioners’ sugar, milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.

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Both of these are easily veganized, just incorporate the usual suspects for subbing.

Recipes adapted from several over at allrecipes.com.

Pectin Free Blueberry Jam

Short and sweet.  This was a small batch I used to experiment with the ratio of sugar to Berries.  I think I can still make it with less sugar.  I’ll let you know what happens with a less sugary recipe later in the month.

If you have excess blueberries, save summer by making Blueberry Jam.

  • 4 C Blueberries, mashed
  • 2 C sugar, white
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

In a dutch oven over medium heat, cook mashed berries until they boil add sugar, boil while stirring until sugar dissolves, then turn heat down to low and simmer mixture for up to 60 minutes, stirring every few minutes until it reaches your desired jam thickness.  Once you hit the thickness you desire, for me this was 40 minutes, add the juice of 1 lemon and its zest, turn up to medium, bring back to a boil and then shut off heat.

Remove from heat, pour into canning jars and either freeze or if you have done the boiling canning method, seal and keep at room temp.

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Veganized BerryCakes

I just finished watching the most disgusting video (I didn’t embed it it’s so violent) regarding the treatment of pigs and piglets on a large factory farm in Pennsylvania, seriously don’t watch it if you aren’t ready to make a lifestyle change.  Suddenly I don’t miss bacon anymore.  Which then made me again question why it is I’m NOT vegan.  All I can come back to is cheese, which is lame because I can find a sub for that.

Today I decided it’s time to embrace faux cheese and gradually veganize my kitchen, and make a bigger attempt at exempting animal products one at a time.  Recently I stopped in at Saffrons-A Gluten Free Marketplace which is a local (to West Michigan) place and to my surprise ended up speaking with the owner for a while.  In addition to the ENTIRE store being Gluten Free, he has a delightful array of vegan food products.  I bought some Daiya which I’ve had before and liked as far as faux cheese goes; I also got some coconut milk, coconut milk ice cream (which frankly tastes better than regular ice cream to me), quinoa pasta, “chicken less” vegan cubes of lower sodium bouillon for soups (it’s not soup season but it’s hard to find this stuff in the winter), an egg replacement (to see how it tastes) and Vegenaise.  The owner and I had a conversation about the varying Vegenaise types (he carries the hard-to-find Soy Free variety ), I settled on the reduced fat variety.  He mentioned how excited he was to attend a food show recently, and had the opportunity to sample a new Follow Your Heart product:  block cheese.  We talked fake cheese for a while and I mentioned he should carry Teese, from Chicago Soy Dairy our neighbors to the West, it’s amazing and used widely in even the most traditional deep dish pizza joints to help their vegan customers stay loyal.  He noted the name brand and said he’d try to get some in soon.  Talk about a delightful shopping experience.  Not only did I get to meet the OWNER, but he is going to look into one of my suggestions for a product to carry in his store?  Nice.

So what’s the point Adrienne?  Oh, yes…the point is today, I veganized my pancake recipe using coconut milk, earth balance, and ground flax seeds in place of cow milk, butter and eggs, and here it is for your animal-cruelty free enjoyment.

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Vegan Pancake Batter

  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose whole grain flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 T sugar (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • 1 1/4 C reduced calorie coconut milk
  • 1T ground flax seed and 2T hot water, mixed together and let set for about a minute or longer
  • 3 T melted Earth Balance spread
Whisk together the dry ingredients, make a well for the wet ones, and then incorporate them all to make a batter.  Pour by 1/4 C onto a griddle you have preheated to 350-365 degrees.  Flip when the pancakes rise and bubble let cook for about a minute more and then serve.
If you want to add fruit to your pancakes like I have done in the photo.  After you pour the batter onto the hot pan, wait until it rises slightly to put a handful of fresh but dry (not DRIED, just not wet) fruit onto the cake.  I have found this helps them cook through better than adding right after you drop the batter.  Keeps them looking like pancakes and less like sloppy pancakes.

The Kohlrabi Has Landed…

…in my CSA bag for 3 weeks in a row.  I admit, even though I’m a well-seasoned vegetarian, this odd vegetable stumped me for uses and it was necessary to run to Google and figure out finally, after 3 weeks, what in the hell to do with multiple kohlrabi (is that the plural?  So confusing.).

While strange looking, sorta like a hot air balloon while it grows, kohlrabi possesses many attributes worth notice:

  • Low in calories, only 19 for a half cup raw, sliced
  • High in dietary fiber, 2.5 grams for one-half cup
  • Potassium content peaks at 245 grams for one-half cup
  • Vitamin content for that same one-half cup includes 25 I.U. vitamin A, 43.4 mg. vitamin C, 11.3 mcg folic acid, and 16.8 mg. calcium.

Turns out, this little guy is also known as a German Turnip and is the bee’s knees in Kashmir where it is the most consumed vegetable (food must really suck in Kashmir).  Everywhere I searched, the claim is that kohlrabi is delish both raw and cooked. Well, I’m here to tell you people, while there are several varieties of this alien veggie, I apparently got the two that suck raw.  Both white and purple variety of kohlrabi, are dare I say it, horrible raw…so off to the interwebs I went in search of a way to browbeat this veg into submission.  I found the perfect solution:  empanadas!  Pie crust can make ANYTHING taste better.  I present to you:  Kohlrabi and Sweet Potato Empanadas.

  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 inch of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 tsp coriander, ground
  • 2-3 medium kohlrabi, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 large sweet potato, cooked and smashed
  • 2 large scallions, both white and green parts, finely cut
  • 1 radish, minced (optional)
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 box of pre-made pie crust or one batch homemade*
  • 1 egg

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In a medium skillet, heat oil and butter over medium heat.  Add garlic and ginger to brown.  Add kohlrabi cubes, a pinch of salt and some pepper. Toss well and cook 3 or 4 minutes until kohlrabi are softening a bit.  Add potato mash and continue to cook for 4 more minutes.  Add scallions, radish, nutmeg, coriander and another pinch of salt and pepper.  Mix well and cook for one minute before removing from heat.  Set mixture to this side to cool.  It should be a very, very dry, looking mixture.  Moisture equals disaster for empanadas.

Roll out dough to be a little thinner than pie crust typically is.  If you are using pre-made crust from the store, run your rolling pin over it once or twice.   Using a cereal bowl or large circular cookie cutter, cut out 6 inch-ish circles from the dough.  It should yield about 15, give or take depending on your cutter and dough thickness.

Pre-heat oven to 425F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.   Prepare egg wash by beating egg with a teaspoon of water and set to the side along with a small bowl of water.

To make the empanadas, spoon one teaspoon of kohlrabi  mixture into the center of a circle of dough (it’s better to have less filling than too much or the empanadas won’t hold together. Feel out the right ratio that allows you to close off the dough without any filling popping out.).   Dip your finger in the bowl of water and run it around the outside edge of the dough.  Fold dough over the filling to create a half circle.  Press down edges.  Carefully pick up the dough pocket and pinch edges or use a fork, then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with the egg wash.  The video below shows how to appropriately fill and thus seal an empanada.  Caution:  it only LOOKS easy.  By the time you have made all of your precious empanadas your last one will look like this person’s first one; it is however, well worth the effort.

After you assemble the dough pockets, pop them into the preheated oven, cooking for 8 minutes on the first side, then flip and cook for 5 more minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly on a rack so they don’t get soggy.  I served mine warm with what else, Frank’s Red Hot.

**My next kohlrabi experiment is going to be this:  Kohlrabi Curry.

Replace Gluten AND Eggs? It’s Worth A Try.

Warning:  I’m not a *real* chef, AND I got a C+ in organic chemistry, B+ in inorganic chemistry.  Proceed with caution.

Excess zucchini means science experiment time!  I have lots of vegan friends and recently a handful of gluten free friends, so I decided to see if I could please both of them with a summertime staple:  zucchini bread.

First, the research for a gluten free bread recipe was pretty easy, but…wait Xanthan Gum?  What is that?  I had an idea of what that did in gluten free baking but no idea where it came from or where even to get such a thing, certainly I wasn’t going out for it.  Thanks to Wikipedia I again know way more about an ingredient than I care to, thus, had to find a replacement which WAS NOT a chemical.  It dawned on me that flax basically can be used as a sub for anything….so why not as a sub for xanthan gum.  Turns out, lots of people think xanthan gum is icky like I do, and use flax as a sub, teaspoon for teaspoon.  Now…in my vegan banana bread recipe, I also subbed flax and water for eggs, decided to try that in this one too.  Science experiment complete.  I crossed my fingers hoping it would taste okay and had SUPER results!

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This bread came to work with me to our staff meeting and noshers said it was super moist, and slightly spicy.  I particularly appreciated the crispy exterior and the chewy interior.  Bonus is that it didn’t need a spread of any kind, it stands on its own two feet.

This recipe makes one loaf.

  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups freshly shredded zucchini
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs (or to Veganize it: 1T flax seed ground with 3 T hot water)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (check this, some have gluten in them-gross)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups GF Flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill chickpea and fava bean)
  • 1 teaspoon flax sprinkles for each cup of flour
  • up to 13 teaspoons hot water (I know this sounds random, but it depends on the type of gluten free flour you use how much water you will need)

Shred the zucchini, allow it to rest on paper towel to reduce moisture and chop the walnuts in a food processor or by smashing them in a plastic bag and set them aside.

Use a mixer to beat the flax/water mixture and add the sugar, oil and vanilla. Add the baking soda, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Slowly pour in the flour and flax sprinkles (dry) until well mixed. Now if you have made bread before, you will know that the end consistency is not thick like cookie dough, but rather, thicker than cake batter, so to get from cookie dough to almost cake batter, slowly add hot water 1 teaspoon at a time until you have a workable quick bread viscosity.  For me, that took 13 teaspoons.

Last, by hand, mix in the zucchini and walnuts. Pour in greased & floured loaf pan and bake at 350F degrees for 55-75 minutes. Let cool.

DROP WHAT YOU ARE DOING, READ THIS & VOTE

Kids’ Food Basket (KFB), a nonprofit in Grand Rapids, Michigan that ATTACKS Childhood Hunger, is trying to secure a truck through Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good Campaign.  Their assigned voting day is TODAY ONLY.  Voting for KFB lasts just until Midnight.

Click here to support them:  Kids’ Food Basket VOTE

BerryCakes

Tired of reading about raspberries?  Well, we’ve been eating them for a solid week, how do you think we feel?  The last of ‘em went into pancakes a final breakfast.  Using the pancake base from the Milk Chocolate Banacakes post last year, just add raspberries in place of the chocolate and/or bananas and you have breakfast.  Goodbye raspberries!

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Doorganics Tacos

Mike Hughes I salute you.

It’s a rare opportunity when you can shake the hand of the person who not only planted, but harvested and DELIVERED your fruit and/or veggies to, your, door.  I don’t want to ruin the fantasy I have playing in my head about him digging up my little french radishes, putting them in a cooled green bin and driving them over to me personally just to say hi…but he basically did just that.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet.  Doorganics delivered today, thus, these tacos were created from my bin.  Go online, hook up with Doorganics and be pleasantly surprised.  I was.

I give you Doorganics Tacos.

  • 1 tablespoon, vegetable oil
  • 2 cups fresh white or yellow corn kernels
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced ( I used purple)
  • 4 french radishes, finely diced
  • 4 green onions, green parts diced only
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 warm corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • goat cheese or Daiya to taste

PREPARATION

  1. Heat half of oil in a large skillet over high heat. Toast corn 5 minutes, stirring; season with salt. Remove corn; set aside. Heat remaining oil in skillet. Cook onion, stirring, until it caramelizes, 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, both peppers and cook 1 to 2 minutes, until warm-I like ‘em crunchy still.  Add zucchini; cook until tender but not mush, 6-10 minutes; season with salt. Add corn, beans, oregano and pepper. Cook 3 minutes. Split filling among tortillas; top each with 1 1/2 tsp salsa, a few bits of radish, green onion and 1 tsp cheese.  This makes a TON more than 8 tacos worth.  I’m taking it to lunch tomorrow sans shells.

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Buckle Up…Another Raspberry Recipe

If you like berries but don’t want to be overwhelmed with a sweet dessert-like cake, this recipe is for you.  Tastes great with coffee, or fatten it up with some ice cream.  Be careful not to overbake or it will be dry, if anything, underbake it slightly so it retains its tender texture.

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Berry Buckle

  • 2 C all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ C shortening
  • 2 C berries (mixed, raspberries, or blueberries)
  • ¾ C sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ C milk
Topping:
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ C sugar
  • ¼ C Earth Balance, or butter
  • 1/3 C all purpose flour

Beat shortening and gradually add sugar, egg and milk.  Add dry ingredients.  Stir in berries gently.  Spread into 9 x 13 pan.  Cut butter into flour, sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle over batter.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.