Eggnog Pear Pie.

It’s a wonderful day for pie! In case anyone hasn’t seen this, you should probably watch right now:

http://www.shenzhenstuff.com/video/its-a-wonderful-day-for-pie

Any day is a wonderful day for pie! But really, pie is the best. The November issue of Vegetarian Times featured a whole section on pies. I haven’t gotten around to making any of them until now. There was an Eggnog Pear Pie featured as part of the pie spread and I thought that sounded deliciously interesting. Naturally I get to the recipe and it’s basically eggs and milk. Never fear, veganization to the rescue! I swapped out some things and added some other, better things and got myself an Eggnog Pear Pie. Unfortunately, the top of my pie cracked like an unruly cheesecake and so boo. Boo to cracks. But cheers to delicious tasting pie, which this is.

Eggnog Pear Pie

Eggnog Pear Pie

Adapted & Veganized from Vegetarian Times

Ingredients:

Crust:

About 20 gingersnaps (storebought or homemade) crushed or pulsed in the food processor, you want fine crumbs

1 tbsp Earth Balance

Filling:

4 medium pears, peeled, cored and sliced

1 tbsp finely minced fresh ginger

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/2 c sugar

heaping 1/2 c firm silken tofu (Mori-Nu Brand)

large pinch salt

1 c So Delicious Coconut Milk Nog

2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp agar agar powder (do not use flakes)

cinnamon for dusting

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pulse your snaps in a food processor to get them into fine crumbs if you haven’t done so already. Use a mini food processor if you have one, or if you have a smaller bowl attachment that fits into your big bowl, use that. Melt your Earthy B and combine it with your crumbs. Press the mixture into a pie plate and bake about 8 minutes.

Toss pears in a bowl with ginger and lemon juice. Once your crust has baked for the 8 min, remove it and arrange your pear slices in the crust, or just dump them in. You won’t really be able to see them, so do whatever you fancy.

Wipe out your food processor and add in the tofu, nog, salt, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg and agar. Run until everything is completely smooth and there are no chunks of tofu. You may have to scrape down the sides of your food processor once or twice. Pour the nog and tofu mixture over the pears and bake for about 45 min. Let pie cool to room temp and then refrigerate if desired. It will continue to set a bit more in the fridge, but should still hold a slice at room temp. When you are ready to serve, or eat the pie by yourself (what? who me?!) give it a light dusting of cinnamon. I used ceylon cinnamon, but use whatever variety you like. 🙂

Eggnog Pear Pie

Work in Progress: Butterscotch Apple Pie

A couple of weeks ago, I attempted to make my first gluten free pie. The filling was a complete success, well, because…how easy is it to make gluten free pie filling? Super easy. My crust, while not a total failure, left a lot to be desired. It had sort of a crunchy cookie-like consistency and tasted okay. It just wasn’t as delicious as I hoped it would be and the texture was much too crunchy. After all, I was going for a regular pie crust, not a cookie crust.

I saw the recipe idea on one of my favorite blogs, Eat the Love. Irvin used brown butter to infuse his crust with butterscotch flavor and did the same with the filling. If anyone has any ideas on a creative way to make vegan brown butter, let me know. That was the flavor I was trying to recreate. It worked more so with my filling, I guess because of some of the spices and other ingredients that you can use with filling and not in your crust. I hate to use butterscotch chips in a pie, but maybe that is the route I have to take. Does anyone know if they melt? Anyhow, the pie was not a complete failure, but needs improvements.

At least it holds a slice!

Sweet Potato & Marshmallow Biscuits.

So. Who out there loves Smitten Kitchen? I do. It’s far from vegan, but I still can’t help but love it….just like Food Network. Even though I eat vegan, I still like to follow certain non-vegan blogs, shows and magazines. I find there is a still a lot you can learn, but really, I follow these things as they spark ideas in me. I’ll be reading a non-vegan recipe and think to myself, “oh my, well now that just sounds delicious. I want that. How do I get that? Oh yeah, yeah I make that vegan”. Sometimes that can be really challenging and sometimes it’s as easy as making equal substitutions of vegan products like almond milk or tofu.

Thank goodness it was easy veganizing these amazing Sweet Potato & Marshmallow Biscuits from Smitten Kitchen because…dear universe, they are freakin’ delicious. When I first went to SK and saw these, I think my mouth may have watered a little bit. I LOVE things with marshmallow. I don’t know why because there is also a part of me that thinks they are just a little gross, but I loooovvveeee them. My favorite non-vegan ice creams were the s’more flavor of Ben & Jerry’s (long since discontinued) and then Phish Food, really just for the marshmallow swirl. Man, I never even really liked Rocky Road all that much but would eat it just for those little white pillows of sugary weirdness.

Melty Marshmallowy Goodness.

So, these little goodies were supposed to be a play on that marshmallow/yam sweet potato casserole. You know, the one with candied sweet potatoes and melted marshmallow topping? For being a marshmallow lover, I actually never ate said casserole in my life until last year. I took a class with the Sporkies and they showed me the light. Anyhow, while the casserole was good, these little biscuits are seriously good. So good.

Sweet Potato & Marshmallow Biscuits

Adapted and Veganized from Smitten Kitchen 

Ingredients:

3/4 c sweet potato puree

1/3 c vegan buttermilk (1/3 c almond milk + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar)

2 c unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

3 tbsp unbleached cane sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp unbleached sea salt

5 tbsp cold Earth Balance Buttery Spread

about 1 c of Dandies (Sweet & Sara are my favorite mallow, but I think Dandies work better for these biscuits)

Method:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with silpat and set aside. Mix the almond milk with the tsp of apple cider vinegar and set aside for a few minutes to let it curdle. After the milk has curdled, whisk in the 3/4 c sweet potato puree and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, spices and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the Earth Balance. Unless your Earth Balance has been in the freezer, no need to try and get it in small chunks. Just scoop it out with a tbsp measuring spoon and drop it in the flour. Cut in the Earth Balance with the pastry cutter until you have that sandy looking mixture going on. In this case, I don’t think it necessarily looks like wet sand, but you know what I mean. Just cut the Earth Balance in until it’s in tiny pieces.

Add the sweet potato and milk mixture and start combining it to make dough. You’ll have to fold it over a few times, but don’t knead it too much. Once your dough has formed, lightly flour a work station and lay the dough out. Roll the dough out into about 1/2″ thickness. Now take your Dandies and arrange them on half of the dough. Now fold the other half of the dough over the side you just laid the marshmallows on. Use a biscuit cutter to cut out as many biscuits as possible. Try not to twist the biscuit cutter– Place biscuits on the baking sheet lined with silpat. Now, as Deb put it and I agree, this dough isn’t the easiest for rolling out scraps, but just do the best you can. Feel free to squeeze in a couple of more marshmallows if needed. Bake in preheated oven for 13-15 and enjoy!

Thanksgiving Day Spread.

I hope everyone out there had a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving. In the end, I made about 8 different dishes. Looking back, that was, perhaps, a little excessive, but oh well. I just wanted to be surrounded in delicious vegan goodness! Apologies in advance as some photos are better than others.

Apple Butter Peas

Apple Butter Peas

Apple-Thyme Bread Knots

Apple-Thyme Bread Knots

Marble Rye-Chestnut Stuffing w/ Bluefoot and Shitake Mushrooms

Marble Rye-Chestnut Stuffing w/ Bluefoot and Shitake Mushrooms

Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole w/ Mushrooms & Fennel

Thanksgiving Plate: Tofurky, Mashed Potatoes, Homemade Cranberry, Stuffing, Greens Beans

 

Blueberry & Cranberry Cobbler

Blueberry & Cranberry Cobbler

Vanilla-Rosemary Apple Pie

Vanilla-Rosemary Apple Pie
Turkey Detailing

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

This was the only dish that I wasn’t very happy with. I didn’t end up using vegan cream cheese and while the taste of this dessert was good, the texture left something to be desired. I will likely never try a cheesecake that doesn’t use vegan cream cheese again.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

Cranberry Sauce & also the blurriest picture of the day!

So, please forgive some of the terrible photos, I promise the food was good!

 

 

Wild Mushroom & Butternut Squash Bread Pudding.

Thanksgiving is almost here so I’m bringing you guys a Thanksgiving recipe. For anyone who reads this blog regularly, it is no secret that I enjoy Sunset magazine. The majority of the recipes found in Sunset are not vegan, but many of them are really easy to convert. Sunset also does include vegan recipes every now and then, but I have way more fun switching up their meat and dairy dishes. The November issue of Sunset had a lot of fun Thanksgiving recipes, some of which I have already done versions of, here and here. I also spied a recipe for a “Wild Mushroom & Butternut Squash Bread Pudding” that sounded really interesting and I wanted to try doing a vegan version. It had eggs, cheese, and half & half, and I figured those things would be easy enough to replace…..and they were!

This is a very filling, stick to ribs, comfort food type of dish. It can definitely be a stand alone dish, or pairs well with a simple green salad. Also, just so no one is confused by the title, this is a savory dish. The butternut squash does add an element of sweetness, but overall, it’s definitely savory. Bread pudding is sort of a deceiving title as this dish may fall more into the realm of a casserole. It also has enough elements to create a strata, but I think the ingredients work better mixed up than layered like you do in a strata. The only thing I would change in the future is adding a bit less liquid than called for, so I will include that edit in the version of the recipe below.

Wild Mushroom and Butternut Squash Bread Pudding

Adapted from Sunset Magazine

Wild Mushroom & Butternut Squash Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

3 c uncooked butternut squash, cubed into 3/4 in chunks

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

about 4 tbsp Earth Balance, divided

3 leeks, white & light green parts, sliced thinly–make sure they’re cleaned thoroughly too

2 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 lb wild mushrooms, sliced–I used fresh chanterelles and white mushrooms. Blue foots and chanterelles would be a great combo, but feel free to use whatever mushrooms are available to you

1 tbsp fresh thyme

6 c rustic bread, cubed and toasted or slightly stale

2 3/4 c almond milk or cream substitute like coconut milk or soy creamer, or MimicCreme

4 tbsp ground flax seed

1 tbsp egg replacer or potato starch

1 tbsp flour

1 1/4 c shredded vegan cheeze–feel free to use a combo of you favorites. I used Cheezly White Cheddar and Daiya Mozzarella

salt & pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment. Place your cubed squash on the baking sheet and toss it with the olive oil and some salt/pepper. Bake until tender, just about 35 min. Leave the oven on.

Melt 2 tbsp Earthy B in a saute pan over medium heat and add your leeks. Add some salt and pepper to your pan. Saute until the leeks start to soften and then add your garlic. Saute for about two more minutes. Go ahead and empty your pan onto the baking sheet that has the butternut squash.

Using the same saute pan, melt the remaining 2 tbsp of Earthy B over medium heat. Add your mushrooms with a touch more salt and pepper. Cook the mushrooms until they start to release their liquid and start to brown a bit, around 5 or 6 min. Add the fresh thyme and remove from heat.

Now you can combine your mushrooms with the leeks and squash. Lightly oil a 9×13 in baking dish or something comparable. As you can see from the photo above, I used a large round stoneware casserole dish. Place your bread into the prepped baking dish and then add the veggies and mushrooms. Stir or toss that together so it’s good and mixed.

Whisk together your almond milk or cream substitute with the ground flax, egg replacer and flour. Add a bit of your cheeze and whisk. Pour this mixture over your bread and veggies. Top with your remaining cheeze. If you love vegan cheeze and want to add more, feel free to go crazy 🙂 Bake uncovered for about 30 to 35 min.

Enjoy. 🙂

 

Pumpkin Goodies.

Just a quick post to share some pumpkin treats I’ve made in the last week.

Pumpkin Challah

I rarely make my own bread. I don’t know why, because typically it’s pretty easy and always super delicious. I have to admit I had a grand time braiding this loaf. Next time I’ll have to go really crazy and do the 6-strand braid. Also, pumpkin is an amazing substitute for eggs if you’re looking to make vegan challah.

Chocolate Dipped Pumpkin Biscotti

I made these biscotti to bring on a visit to see my great aunt in San Diego. They had a strong pumpkin flavor and were pretty good, but dense. It’s difficult to store fresh homemade biscotti because it has to stay out of a bag or container to keep its crunchiness and crispiness. Perhaps a metal tin would be the answer. Metal tins generally always keep crackers and such crunchier than any other container I’ve found. I guess this means I will have to make more biscotti to test this theory. Also, these needed more chocolate. Should have dipped half way or done a drizzle!

Pumpkin Monkey Bread

Apologies for the photo. I didn’t get a decent picture of this monkey bread. I saw the recipe during Vegan Mofo over at Oh, Ladycakes and decided I needed to give it a try. I had only ever eaten monkey bread once. Someone gave one to our family when I was little. I just remember it sitting on the counter and slowly loosing balls. I would go up to it and take a couple of balls from it and I’m guessing the rest of my family did the same. I remember liking it, but just never made one or came across another one until now. This was a great recipe. Easy and fun to make. Ashlae made hers super cute by using a jumbo muffin tin to make individual little breads. I went the traditional route and used a bundt pan as I don’t have a jumbo muffin tin and didn’t want to use my standard sized tins. You may notice that one side of the bread looks a little deformed. Well, when I went to invert the pan to release the bread, only half of it came out. Grrr. I loosened it with a knife and everything! Apparently not loosened enough. So, a friend helped me get the rest out and then we just sort of pushed the halves together. It worked okay, as the monkey bread is so sticky it was happy to grab its missing half. Anyhow, I highly recommend this recipe. And all of Ashlae’s recipes. She’s legit!

Okinawa Sweet Potato Pie.

A while back, I was browsing one of my favorite food blogs, Eat the Love. While the blog isn’t vegan, it does have a couple of vegan recipes and Irvin’s creations are some of my favorite things to veganize. Whilst aforementioned browsing, I happened upon an interesting recipe for sweet potato pie. Irvin had primarily used an interesting variety of sweet potato that I had never seen or heard of; the Okinawa sweet potato.

Okinawa Sweet Potatoes

So, this sweet potato is in the same family as the other types found at the farmer’s market or grocery store, including those that are always labeled as “yams”. Yes, most of you already know, but some of you may not….a yam is not a yam at all, it’s a sweet potato. They all have the same basic shape and come in different colors, for whatever suits your fancy and nutritional needs. But, what I found especially fancy and amazing about this particular variety of sweet potato is that, are you ready for this? They are bright PURPLE on the inside. Yes! Unassuming beige colored outsides and velvety purple sweet potato insides. Ahh, purple vegetables please me to no end.

yesss.....

So, basically I had to make this pie that Irvin posted. It was an American Orange Yam Sweet Potato & Okinawa Sweet Potato Pie w/ Macadamia Nut Topping. I was headed to Woori Market  located in the Little Tokyo area of downtown to pick up some sweet rice flour, coincidentally for another recipe of Irvin’s I am planning to make vegan. I searched around and found my flour for an amazing price. Then I wandered the produce area for a bit and ran into a bin of these amazing potatoes. I hadn’t planned on making this pie that day, but I knew that since I had run into this bin full of potatoes that I knew were purple on the inside, well, something just had to be done. After picking up my goodies I was super happy. I only got two bags of flour and a few sweet potatoes, but I felt so satisfied and excited. I went home and immediately began prepping the pie crust. I have linked to Irvin’s blog above where you can find the original recipe. Here are my vegan notes:

Vegan Notes for American Orange & Okinawa Sweet Potato Pie:

American Orange & Okinawa Sweet Potato Pie

1. Regarding the crust: Pastry crust is typically easy to veganize. Just replace the fat. I used Earth Balance for this recipe and my dough was VERY soft, even after 2 hours of refrigeration. It was still workable for me and I used it. It baked up perfectly well and tasted great, but I think any one of these options will be easier to work with: combination of solid coconut oil and cold Earth Balance, combination of cold shortening and Earth Balance, cold Earth Balance Coconut Spread, or just plain coconut oil or shortening on their own.

2. For the filling: Replace full fat yogurt with equal parts So Delicious Coconut Milk yogurt. I used vanilla.

Replace 3 larges egg yolks with 1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer. Do NOT whip with water. Add it to your filling dry.

Replace 1 large egg with 1 flax egg: 1 tbsp ground flax whipped with 1 tbsp water

Replace honey with agave nectar, barley malt syrup, brown rice syrup or a bit of maple syrup. ***I eat honey and have been fortunate enough to have taken home some  macadamia nut blossom honey from Hawaii from ethical bee keepers on Maui, so I did use my macadamia blossom honey where it is called for in the recipe. I also brought home macadamia nuts, red salt and lots of other fabulous Hawaiian goodies. I think we should all go to Hawaii right now.

With the notes above, prepare the rest of the pie according to Irvin’s instructions, just swapping out the above ingredients and you will have a gorgeous and unforgettable sweet potato pie with a touch of Maui. 🙂