Broccoli & Cheeze: Forever Friends

Broccoli. Ahh, my dear friend broccoli, member of the cabbage family and filled with nutritional goodness. Broccoli is the basically the greatest. It’s great tons of different ways, but my favorite way to eat broccoli is with a generous helping of cheddar style Daiya. Broccoli and Daiya are great in baked potatoes, risotto, creamy broccoli cheddar soup, baked into an individual wild mushroom and rice casserole….you know, the possibilities are endless.

Individual Broccoli-Rice-Cheddar-Mushroom Casseroles.

This recipe can be found in Jenn Shagrin’s book, “Veganize This!” I know I’ve posted about her before, probably several times actually, but she’s one of my favorite cooks and I love her recipes. This is one is no exception, it’s amazing.

Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup.

This is one of my all time favorite recipes as well. It’s just a simple creamy broccoli cheddar soup. There is a really similar and absolutely delicious recipe for broccoli cheddar soup in “Skinny Bitch in the Kitch“. If you don’t have that book, just Google “broccoli cheddar soup” and you can basically come up with something pretty similar by just swapping out the non-vegan ingredients for vegan ones. I don’t usually add carrots to this particular soup, but they do add great color and nutrients.

Broccoli-Cheddar Risotto.

Risotto. You can basically put anything in it and it will be good. To make this, just use the basic risotto recipe that can be conveniently found here and instead of adding radicchio/tempeh pancetta, add a generous helping of Daiya and some freshly steamed broccoli.

I wish I had a big glorious picture of a cheezey, broccoli stuffed baked potato, but I don’t. I always devour them like a beast before I can take a picture. Next time, that’s what I keep telling myself.

PS. A note about Daiya; I like Daiya. It’s my opinion, that it’s the best meltable and best tasting cheese substitute available for melting. I have tried Teese, and unfortunately, am not a fan due to texture. I do love Dandies though! I also love Follow Your Heart’s vegan mozzarella and jack cheezes, but like to enjoy those unmelted, like in caprese salad. I have also come to enjoy Daiya unmelted on cold sandwiches. And, anyone who knows me knows that I love Cheezly‘s white cheddar, but those cheezes are so hard to come by that I save them for really special occasions like world’s most decadent mac ‘n cheeze.

Vegan Peppermint Bark.

I make my own white chocolate for this. It’s really easy if you can get ahold of some good food grade cocoa butter. Then it’s just a matter of powdered sugar and some flavor, like vanilla bean or extract or what-have-you. If you need measurements, here is a foolproof recipe for you for vegan white chocolate. If you don’t want to make your own white chocolate, you can just melt down some vegan white chocolate chips…which typically have to be ordered online. Sometimes vegan white chocolate chips take a while to melt, but stir them around and give them a little time.

Homemade Vegan White Chocolate: Both Vanilla; one w/ extract, the other with bean.

The rest of peppermint bark making is a snap. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with parchment or silpat. Melt some dark chocolate and pour it onto the baking sheet. For extra minty delicious, add a little peppermint extract to the chocolate before pouring it. Wait for the chocolate to harden. To expedite, put it in the fridge or freezer. Then, melt your white chocolate and pour that on top of the dark. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes; they have some organic and all natural ones at Whole Foods. Put back in the fridge to help solidify. Once solid, start breaking the one big piece apart into subsequent smaller pieces. I have no rhyme or reason for the way I break it up. If you’ve used parchment instead of a silpat, you can try cutting nice looking squares.

Sorry I don’t have exact measurements, but I’m confident you guys can eyeball it and be fine. 🙂

Vegan Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark.

Risotto w/ Radiccho & Tempeh Pancetta.

So. I know I promised the risotto yesterday, but I am a filthy liar so here I am today with the recipe for you. But first, I would like to tell the world how much I am completely in love with radicchio. Radicchio is a leaf chicory and can be eaten raw in salads, or in a multitude of ways cooked. It’s really outstanding when grilled and is great sauteed. I like to add it to cheeseless pizzas with leeks and other goodies. It has a bitter, spicy taste when raw, but those flavors mellow out with heat. Either way, it tastes absolutely amazing and I love it.

This recipe is a really simple, basic risotto recipe that anyone can make. You’ll add the radicchio and pancetta afterward.

Risotto w/ Radicchio & Tempeh Pancetta

Ingredients:

7-8 c No Chicken Broth (Imagine Brand, Better than Bouillon, Edaward & Sons)**

2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 package tempeh bacon, homemade tofu pancetta, or homemade tempeh bacon

1/2 c yellow onion, finely chopped

1 head radicchio, thinly sliced–If you want to be extra fancy, buy a 2nd head and use the whole leaves to serve the risotto in.

3 c arborio or carnaroli rice

1 c dry white wine

2 tbsp Earth Balance

salt & freshly cracked pepper to taste

Method:

First, pour all of your stock into a saucepan and heat it up. Bring it to a low simmer, and keep the heat on low. You just want to keep it warm.

Next, heat the oil (over med heat) in the pot you’re going to use to make your risotto. If you’re using tempeh, add that to your pan first. If your using tofu pancetta, keep it warm and set it aside–you won’t be needing it until the very end. Cook tempeh, if using, for about 3-4 min. Next, add your onion and saute an additional two minutes. Add the radicchio to the tempeh and onion and continue to cook for about 2 more minutes until the radicchio is tender. Transfer this mixture to a separate bowl and set aside. Try to keep in a warm spot, so it doesn’t get too cold.

Add a bit more oil to your pan if it’s become dry. Not too much, start with 1 tbsp and add more if you need it. Add the rice. Toast the rice in oil for about 3 minutes. The edges of the rice will become translucent, but you should still see a white dot in the center of each grain. Add your wine, and stir until completely absorbed. Now for the stock! Add your stock one ladleful or 1 cup at a time, stirring after each addition. Stir until each cup or ladleful is absorbed before you add any more–but keep in mind that your rice should never look dry. Keep up with this process until all of your stock is used up. This should take about 20 or so minutes.

When the rice is tender, remove from the heat and add your Earth Balance, salt and pepper. The Earth Balance and broth both have salt in them already, so keep that in mind when adding additional salt. Now go ahead and grab your other goodies, radicchio, “pancetta”, onion mixture and add that to your risotto.

Risotto with Radicchio & Tempeh Pancetta.

 

**I find Better than Bouillon and Edward & Sons both delicious, but very salty when used as directed. When I use either brand, I use about half or so as much bouillon than is called for to make 1 cup. I believe it’s 1 tsp per cup for BtB and half a cube for E&S. So, I use 1 tsp for each 2 cups water for BtB and 1/2 a cube for each 2 cups of water for E&S. Try them out and see how you feel. 🙂

Hello There.

Why hello there blog. I am quite sorry I have been neglecting you. I had these wonderful dreams that I would be posting all sorts of December treats and recipes and goodies and things. And now it’s halfway through December. I haven’t even made Christmas cookies yet. Alas. Well, I do plan to make it up to whoever is kind enough to read my little blog here. I have a recipe for Risotto with Radicchio & Tempeh Pancetta that I will be posting tomorrow. For now, I’m just going to share a little bit of what I’ve been eating lately. I haven’t cooked or baked much in the past two weeks, but I did manage a few tasty items.

 

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup Topped w/ Melty Cheeze

I’ve only made a vegan version of French Onion Soup once. I don’t know why it was just that one time, as it’s soooo good. I loved it in my pre-vegan days and I was happy to welcome it back into my belly once more. I made a no-beef broth, and then slow cooked some onions for about 6 hours. Then I ladled the soup into these little oven-to-table crocks that I have and topped them with some crusty French bread and some Cheezly. Then under the broiler they go!

The goods.

Since it’s gotten relatively cool for SoCal, I decided to continue making soup and made this Creamy Pumpkin Soup w/ Tarragon and Sherry from Veganize This! Ms. Bianca from over at Vegan Crunk made it too! I love going to her blog and checking out what she’s up to and what she’s been cookin’. I can’t wait to get her Southern themed cookbook. I love me some vegan southern comfort. So, this soup was like drinking perfectly warmed orange velvet. It was so rich and creamy. The spices and tarragon balanced out the sweetness of the pumpkin and sherry perfectly. Get Jenn’s book and make this soup!

Pumpkin Soup w/ Tarragon & Sherry

 

After all of the soup, I decided to then focus on rice. Haha, I didn’t really decide, it just sorta happened. I decided I wanted to share my recipe for Risotto with Radicchio and Tempeh Pancetta, but needed to make it, photograph it and eat it of course to make sure it’s still good enough to share with fellow risotto lovers. And because risotto isn’t enough rice for me, I decided to make the Chai Spiced Rice Pudding Pie from one of my newer cookbooks, Vegan Pie in the Sky. Honestly, it was way too much rice, but I just really wanted to make sure the risotto was perfect and then I just really wanted a to make that pie. I had leftover gingersnaps from other crusts I had been making and I wanted to use them. And I also had all of the other ingredients on hand. So, the Chai Spiced Rice Pudding Pie was made and it was grand. Oh, it was grand.

Mmm. Pie. So, this pie consisted of a chai spiced rice pudding created on stovetop, with the finest of chai teas (but of course) with some added golden raisins. I decided to top my pie with a light dusting of cinnamon because I love cinnamon.That goodness was nestled inside a gingersnap cookie crust. After the pudding cools, you put the pie in the fridge and it sets up really nicely. After all, it isn’t really pie if it doesn’t hold a slice.

Next up I made these Purple Potato & Zucchini Latkes from SporkOnline. The recipe is actually for mini latkes, but I went ahead and made mine normal sized. They’re topped with a lemon chive sour cream which was perfect for these. You can access the recipe for these guys on SporkOnline if you’re already a member. If not, you can become a member and instantly be eating latkes too. Well, maybe not instantly, but you can be eating these pretty fast. 

 

White Chocolate & Tangerine Blondies

There are tons of fruit trees around my house. We have lemons, grapefruit, peaches, avocados, tangerines and oranges. And you know what is really strange to me? No one uses the fruit! It’s cray cray. I put fresh lemon juice and zest in TONS of dishes, so I can handle the lemon tree. It’s on the small side, but makes lemons pretty much all year. The peaches are small, but every summer I have to give them away because no one ever seems to be interested in them. They’re really juicy and are great for pie and cobbler. The avocados are interesting too. They’re not Hass or Reed avocados. I’m not really sure what type they are, but neither of those. If you let them soften, they’re pretty good. The tangerines are blowing up right now. I have already given away at least 15lbs of tangerines. I feel like I should have gotten a stand at the farmer’s market or something.

Ripe Tangerines

I’m actually glad I have so many friends that love citrus and I can give some away. It really breaks my heart to see such great, pesticide -free, free- free fruit go to waste. I, personally, can only eat so many tangerines before I am in acid overload, so what should I do? Incorporate them into a treat, that’s what!

So, I saw a recipe a while back for some kind of white chocolate citrus blondie. I tried the recipe and it didn’t work for me, so I just adapted a fool proof recipe from the awe-inspiring Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.

White Chocolate-Tangerine Blondies

White Chocolate-Tangerine Blondies

Adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

Ingredients:

3 oz. firm silken tofu (Mori-Nu Brand)

3 tbsp almond milk

1 tbsp fresh tangerine juice

1/3 c organic canola oil

1/2 golden brown mascobado sugar

1/2 unbleached cane sugar

1 tsp vanilla paste

1 1/2 c unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp tangerine zest

scant 3/4 c vegan white chocolate chips

Method:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly spray a brownie pan with cooking spray. Puree the tofu, almond milk, tangerine juice, and canola oil. Transfer this mixture to a bowl. Mix in the sugars until well combined. Add vanilla paste and mix. Mix in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt and zest. Mix until the batter is smooth. Fold in the white chocolate chips. Transfer the batter to prepared baking dish and bake 30-35 min. Look for a bit of browning on the sides. Let cool for minimum 30 minutes and serve.