Saturday, April 25, 2009

Rice And Black Bean Cakes

What to do when you have leftover rice and 1/2 can of black beans that you need to use? Rice-and-black-bean-cakes of course!

I took the recipe for the cake from here, but modified it a bit:
  1. I doubled the recipe and got 6 medium sized cakes plus 1 gigantic one
  2. I used white rice, cause that's the leftovers I had
  3. I didn't have ground chipotle, so I put some chile and cayenne
  4. I didn't have chipotle in adobe sauce for the tofu sauce, so I put some jalapeno - it turned out pretty good!
  5. I topped it with some corn kernels mixed with salsa.
I think it came out quite tasty, and it wasn't too hard to make - probably would be even easier with a food processor :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Vegan Crustless Asparagus Quiche

The recipe is taken from here, but I made a couple of modifications:
  1. I added 1-2 T tahini (from my experience, it adds deliciousness)
  2. I made it without a crust, just 'cause I'm lazy
  3. I oiled the pie dish and covered it with breadcrumbs
A crust is a good thing to have when you make a quiche, especially when it's still hot - it's hard to get it out of the dish without having it all break into pieces otherwise. I think that making mini quiches in a silicone muffin pan would work better when there's no crust. I will try it sometime with corn or mushrooms, or corn AND mushrooms!

It's easy to make (basically blending everything) and the batter is YUMMY!!! I could probably eat it all uncooked - which means that it could possibly make a good cold soup :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Coconut Birthday Cake

Mark likes coconut cakes for his birthday, mostly because his favorite, carrot cake, is hard to make without a food processor to process all the carrots, and we don't have a food processor. Coconut is his other favorite. Last year I made this one. Mark liked the frosting, but agreed with me that the cake itself was a bit too dry. This year I made the cake using a recipe from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World" topped with the same frosting I made last year. The recipe was for coconut-lime cupcakes, but I removed the lime zest to make it straight coconutty. I also didn't have coconut extract, so I put almond extract instead, and it came out almondy as well. I think next time I'll put less almond, or remove it altogether. Another alteration was substituting coconut oil for regular vegetable oil.

I basically doubled the recipe from VCTOTW and this is what I came up with:
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 can (15 floz) coconut milk
  • 1/2 c soymilk
  • 1.5 c sugar
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 2 t almond extract (coconut extract in original recipe, I think you can just leave it out, since the cake tastes coconutty anyway)
Mix all together in a big bowl, then add:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
Mix all together until combined, then add:
  • 2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
Stir it in until combined, and pour into 9" spring form pan. Bake at 325-350 for about 40-45 minutes, until it's no longer jiggly and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.

I cut it horizontally in half and put icing in the middle. I also put coconut cream (1/2 can coconut milk + 2-3 T brown sugar + 1 t vanilla, brought to a gentle boil in a saucepan over medium heat), but it's not really necessary.

This is probably the best coconut cake I ever had - very moist and rich - though I don't care much for the frosting. I could probably eat it straight without any additions. Or I would try the VCTOTW lime frosting (1/4 c lime juice for a cup of fat and 2 cups of powdered sugar), or some sort of cream cheese frosting. If you like coconut, you should try it - it's fairly easy to make - took me less than 20 minutes to put it in the oven!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lasagna From Scratch

But I mean really from scratch. Noodles, sauce, even ricotta! The only thing we didn't make from scratch is the mozarella, and the Romano we sprinkled on it. It was SO good. I have to thank a fellow student in ceramics class for sharing the recipe for ricotta. I didn't realize how easy it is to make, and how much better it is than store-bought ricotta! It also holds much better than regular ricotta, but that's probably because it's not traditional ricotta (usually made out of whey produced during hard-cheese making), but a whole-milk ricotta. This makes it more chunky and gives it more substance.

And this is how you make it - I recommend you try it at least once, because it's both fun and easy!

1 gallon milk (I used 2%)
1 quart buttermilk (I used fat free)
2 T salt

Pour everything into a large pot, and bring to boiling, stirring constantly, over high heat. It takes about 20 minutes. Stirring is very important, otherwise the milk will burn at the bottom of the pot. The added benefit is stronger arms. When it reaches the boiling point, and the milk is foaming and starting to rise, remove from the stove. You'll find curds floating in whey. Empty the content of the pot into a large strainer lined with cheese cloth (I use a large measuring cup to do that, gradually. I aslo fold the cloth multiple times so as little curds as possible will pass through). Once most of the whey passed through and mostly curds are left in the cloth, transfer to an air-tight container for later use (e.g. lasagna or calzone) and/or consume immediately. Don't throw away the whey. Although you won't be able to make more ricotta with it (as I learned the hard way - you can only use hard cheese whey for that) you can still use it to make delicious breads, or even drink it straight (some suggest adding spices) or, according to Rebecca, cook oatmeal with it. Also, you can whey your rose bushes. Enjoy!

Friday, April 3, 2009


That's right! I made cupcakes with beer!

It turned out really delicious! So much so, that Clint already asked me for the topping recipe. His girlfriend, Danielle, gave me the recipe for the cupcakes (which, in turn, is taken from the book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World) so he didn't need it from me. However, I did modify it a little bit: I put 1/4 cup of oil instead of 1/3 cup, and 1/3 cup of beer instead of 1/4 cup. I think it was a good substitution, don't you?

I topped it with chocolate mousse, also from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. It was so good! What I made was enough for the cupcakes and a few more generous servings of mousse desert.

Vegan chocolate mousse:
  • 15 oz extra firm silken tofu (I actually used regular soft tofu from Fresh & Easy)
  • 15 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips - melted
  • 2 T maple syrup (I only used 1, and added about 3 heaping t of powdered sugar, because I was afraid the mouse won't be firm enough to stand on top of the cupcakes)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/4 c soy milk (I put a little less, and substituted the rest with Irish Cream (not vegan, but can be easily veganized at home, or just left out) just because I have some from making the suggested Irish Cream frosting from the cupcake recipe link above. BTW, if you do it, put a lot more than 2 T, otherwise it won't taste like Irish Cream at all. I put around 6 T the second time I made it).
Blend tofu and milk in blender until smooth, add syrup, vanilla, and melted chocolate and blend more until smooth, creamy and delicious.

** although these cupcakes are vegan, my version of them is not - both because of the Irish Cream and because of the beer I used (I understand Guinness is not vegan, because part of the manufacturing process involves using some fishing by-product. Well, that's the last time I by this brand! Now I need to think what to do with the 4 bottles I have left...). These two items could be easily substituted, or completely omitted in the case of the Irish Cream.