May 28, 2012

Coconut Rice

This thick, satisfying, slightly sweet rice dish has a lovely golden color and is a good counterpoint to curry. It comes from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home.

Coconut Rice

1 1/4 Cup water
1 Cup white basmati rice
1/2 Cup canned coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
small piece of cinnamon stick or a dash of cinnamon
1/4 Cup raisins

Bring water to a boil in a heavy saucepan.
Stir in the rice and everything else.
Bring back to a boil.
Stir once.
Cover, reduce heat and simmer on low for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat. Let sit a few minutes. Then fluff and serve.

Black Bean Burgers

Another favorite from Veganomicon. This is not a recipe to feed an army: just six small burgers. That's fine for our family. Double it when you have guests. They will want seconds.

Black Bean Burgers

What you need:
 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (or two cups cooked if you start from dry beans)
 1/2 Cup vital wheat gluten
  1/2 Cup breadcrumbs (we use plain store bought panko)
  1 teaspoon chile powder
  an extra little dash of cumin
  1/4 Cup water
  a squirt of ketchup
  a couple of cloves of garlic and a little bit of onion (minced fine or grated)
  2 Tablespoons olive oil
  Extra little spritzes of oil

How to do it:
In a mixing bowl, mash the beans with a fork to break them up a bit. Add everything else except the oil.

Mix it all up with a fork and then knead with your hands until its well mixed and firm.

Divide burger mixture into sixths. Form six balls and then flatten each between your hands.

Preheat a griddle or heavy skillet. Add a thin layer of olive oil to the bottom. For each patty, cook it 5 minutes on one side, spritz with oil, flip and cook 5 minutes more on the second side.

I could fit three burgers at a time in my skillet. Don't try to crowd all six into the pan at once.

Notes: If you need to get these started and then set them aside for awhile, it's fine to make them ahead through the kneading of the dough, let it sit and then fry them up later. Just put some plastic wrap over it so it doesn't dry out while it's sitting.

Serve with: We like these with guacamole, but they are also good with the standard ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomato and onion type fixings.

May 26, 2012

Chewy Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

These thin chewy chocolate cookies are a snap to make. Leave room between them on the cookie sheet because they do spread.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

  1 1/2 Cups flour
  2/3 Cup cocoa powder
  1 teaspoon baking soda
  1/2 Cup hazelnut meal
  2/3 Cup canola oil
  1 1/2 Cups sugar
  1 Tablespoon flaxseed meal
  1/2 Cup chocolate hazelnut milk
  1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  3/4 Cup chocolate chips

How to:

Preheat oven to 350. Line three cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder. Stir in the hazelnut meal.

In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and flaxseed meal.
Add the hazelnut milk and vanilla and mix well.

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet. Then stir in the chocolate chips.

Roll the dough into walnut sized balls. Flatten each slightly and place a couple of inches apart on the cookie sheets.

Bake each sheet for 10 minutes, then remove from oven.

Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

I can only fit two sheets in my oven at a time. Stash one in the fridge while the other two are baking.

Variation: Finely grate the zest of an orange into the dough for an extra layer of bright flavor.

May 15, 2012

Bite Sized Brownies - Vegan and Gluten Free

Mistakes were made. I won't go into gory details of my early attempts to bake brownies with oat flour and palm oil back when we were also avoiding dairy and wheat and I hadn't gotten a good feel for eggless baking.

These tasty little bite sized brownies which I found in the recipe section of the website for the Enjoy Life brand were the first vegan gluten free chocolate dessert that I could consistently make successfully.

They call them Choco-Loco Bites. I call them delicious.

Brownie Bites

What you need:
   1/2 Cup applesauce
   1/3 Cup water
   1/3 Cup canola or other neutral oil
   1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
   3/4 Cup cocoa powder
   1 Cup sugar
   1 and 1/3 Cups rice flour
   1 teaspoon baking powder
   1 and 1/2 Cups Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips
   Mini-muffin tin

Ingredient Note: In addition to being free of gluten and Top 8 allergens, Enjoy Life brand chips are also smaller than standard semi-sweet chips and the small size works particularly well in this recipe. If you don't have them but you do have other safe chips, use those.

Equipment Note: If you don't have a mini-muffin tin you can use a larger muffin tin by only filling 24 cups part way. Obviously, these will be a different shape. But they will still be good. 

What to do:
   Preheat your over to 350.
   Beat together the wet ingredients.
   Beat in the sugar and cocoa.
   Stir in the flour and baking powder.
   Stir in the chips.
   Spoon into greased mini muffin tins (24 mini muffins worth)
   Bake for about 25 minutes until firming at edges.
   Let cool completely before removing from the tin.

May 9, 2012

Sweet Potato Salad

This variation on a sweet potato salad from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home has long been a favorite at our house.

The two basic elements of the salad are the steamed cubes of sweet potato (which we like a little larger than the 1/4 inch cubes called for the original recipe) and the easy mustard dressing.

For the rest, we mostly use whatever combination of fresh crunchy vegetables we have on hand and typically use cilantro instead of parsley called for in the original recipe.

Sweet Potato Salad


2 large sweet potatoes - peel and cube

1 Tablespoon cider vinegar

1 Tablespoon good mustard

1 Tablespoon honey

1/4 canola or olive oil

1 Cup diced celery

1 Cup diced red bell pepper

Optional: any other crisp veggies you have on hand (carrot in small pieces, thin slices of zuccini, etc.)

handful of chopped cilantro (or parsley if you have that)

something from the onion family - such as a thinly sliced scallion or diced sweet or red onion


Steam the sweet potato cubes for several minutes until softened but not mussy.

Meanwhile, whisk together the vinegar, mustard and honey and then drizzle in the oil whisking to make an emulsion. Chop the veggies and add them to the serving bowl. Prepare the onion and herbs and save those to add at the end.

When the sweet potatoes have steamed, dump them and the dressing into the veggies. Mix well.

Let cool a little. Then add the onions and herbs.

To make ahead hold off on adding the onion and herbs. Store in fridge. Stir to combine and then add the onions and herbs at the last minute.