Thyme-Flaxseed-Brown Rice-Crispie-Dark Chocolate Cookies.

Today I bring you Thyme-Flaxseed-Brown Rice-Crispie-Dark Chocolate Cookies adapted from Eat the Love. These were so different tasting; a definite party in your mouth. You’ve gotta be like me though and have a love for the sweet and savory brought together. If you do, you’ll love these.

Thyme-Flaxseed-Brown Rice-Crispie-Dark Chocolate Cookies

Adapted from this Eat the Love recipe

Ingredients:

¼ c unsweetened coconut or almond milk, combined with ¼ tsp apple cider vinegar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp thyme, dried

8 oz semi sweet chocolate

2 c unbleached all-purpose flour

½ c dutch processed cocoa

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp sea salt

3 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer

½ c Earth Balance

1 ½ c brown sugar

¼ c whole flax seeds

1 ½ c brown rice crispies (I Like Nature’s Path)

about ½ c unbleached cane sugar for rolling the cookies

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silpats

Combine the ¼ tsp apple cider with the non-dairy milk and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. After the milk has curdled, add vanilla extract and thyme. Set aside for a few minutes to let the flavors come together.

Meanwhile, carefully melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, egg replacer and salt. Stir to combine.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the Earthy B and the brown sugar until it is fluffy. Add half of the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Add buttermilk mixture and continue to mix. Add the remainder of the dry ingredients, mix, then add the flax seeds and rice crispies.

Grab tbsp size bits of dough and roll into a ball. Roll in cane sugar and flatten just a bit on the baking sheet. Bake 13-15 minutes.

Blood Orange Yogurt Tart.

About twice a year, Sur La Table sends out a coupon for $10 off your next purchase. Can I tell you that I look forward to these coupons? I immediately head over to the store and see what goodies they have for me.

Well, you can probably tell by that introduction that I got my coupon not too long ago. And whilst I was browsing, I decided to buy something unexpected. A book. A book?!? A book; a Martha Stewart cookbook all about pies, tarts and the like. While not at all vegan, I knew I wanted it for ideas and methods to improve my pie and tart making abilities. I can say that after having just made my first recipe, I love the book!

And I love that I get to present you with this Blood Orange & Yogurt Tart. In the book, Martha uses navel oranges, dairy yogurt, butter etc. Here’s the foxed edition for your masticating pleasure.

Blood Orange Yogurt Tart

Ingredients:

Crust

Slightly heaping ½ c almond meal  (Tarder Joe’s has some affordable stuff)

¼ c unbleached cane sugar

½ tsp sea salt

1 c unbleached all purpose flour

6 tbsp cold Earth Balance

Filling

1 tsp VegeSet

½ c MimicCreme Healthy Top (unwhipped—just pour from container into measuring cup)

1 ½ c So Delicious Greek Style Yogurt (I used a combo of vanilla & plain) Sub So Delicious regular coconut milk yogurt if you can’t find the Greek.

¼ c brown sugar

pinch sea salt

4-5 blood oranges

Method:

First, to the crust! Combine almond meal, flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in the Earthy B with a pastry cutter, until you’ve got crummage forming. Press crumbs into a very lightly oiled 8-inch fluted tart pan. Stick in the fridge or freezer for 30 or so minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake tart shell for 30-35 min until it begins to turn golden brown.  Set aside to cool.

For the filling, whisk together the yogurt, brown sugar and pinch of salt. In a small saucepan, add the Healthy Top and sprinkle the VegeSet over the cream. Turn on the heat and bring the cream to a boil stirring constantly to make sure the VegeSet is dissolving and not clumping (ew!).  Once you bring the mixture to a boil, immediately turn the heat down or remove completely, all while stirring. Add the cream to the yogurt mixture and combine. Pour into the cooled crust and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set. When you are ready to serve, grab the blood oranges. Use a pairing knife to remove as much of the peel and pith (white stuff) as possible. Slice oranges into rounds and arrange them on top. If you’re lucky like me, you will end up with blood oranges that vary in their bloodiness creating some beautiful contrast for the top of this yummy tart.

Roasted Vegetable and Vegan Meatball Pappardelle

When I saw this meaty recipe in Sunset, I realized I hadn’t made vegan meatballs in a while. And now my friends, well now is the time.

Roasted Vegetable and Meatball Pappardelle

Adapted from Sunset Magazine

Ingredients:

 Meatballs

Ingredients:

1 tube Gimme Lean Meatless Ground Beef

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

½ c flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

¾ tsp salt

¾ tsp freshly cracked black pepper

½ tsp lemon zest

2 tbsp bread crumbs

1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped

 Pappardelle & Veggies

1 red onion, cut into ½” thick wedges

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

¾ lbs small red potatoes, quartered

3 tbsp safflower oil

½ tsp sea salt

½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper

½ lb dried pappardelle pasta (vegan pappardelle?!?! What?!?! No?!? Yes. Get it here. It’s the best ever)

½ c shelled fresh English peas (I know they can be hard to find. Try the farmer’s market, Whole Foods or sometimes Trader Joe’s has them shelled & packaged)

½ c dry organic dry white wine

½ tsp lemon zest

½ c flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Method:

For the meatballs, mix/mash all ingredients together in a big mixing bowl. Grab about a tbsp sized amount and roll into a ball. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Toss onion, garlic, and potatoes with the oil, salt, and pepper. Make sure everything is coated evenly. Spread out in a large baking dish or in a roasting pan. Nestle your meatballs around the veggies and bake about 30 min. Check your potatoes to make sure they are tender.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta according to package directions….even though I never do that, I just check it to see when it’s done….When your pasta only has about a minute left to cook, add the peas. Drain pasta and peas and return to the pot. Stir wine into meatballs and veggies and then mix with the pasta. Add lemon zest and parsley and toss to combine. Add more salt/pepper to taste if desired.

Easter Cake.

These days I am all about veganizing. I love creating new recipes. I love making vegan recipes from cookbooks, magazines, the interwebs etc. But I also fancy taking a meat and dairy extravaganza and adjusting it to fit my lifestyle.

I have blogged a few times about baking blog Eat the Love. It’s filled with all kinds of amazingly fancy, decadent wonders of sugar and flour and chocolate and all that desserty goodness. The blog has a few vegan recipes, but most are not. One of my favorite things to do is to see which of Irvin’s awe-inspiring recipe will work in vegan form.

For Easter Sunday, I decided to veganize the Carrot Pineapple Spice and Brownie Layer Cake with Whipped Cream & Cream Cheese Forsting andddd Marzipan Carrots. I had a long, but wonderful day in Ojai the day before Easter and I did not anticipate how tired I would be when I got home. I powered through and made this cake. I took a few shortcuts, like instead of making a carrot juice reduction, I just added a 1/4 cup carrot juice. This probably changed the cake in ways I don’t understand, but everyone still liked it, so whatever, I do what I want. I also made a single marzipan carrot because although I had a brand new tube, it kept crumbling and falling apart….giving me an all around difficult time, so I tossed it. So, rather than post the vegan version, I’m just going to give you the notes today.

Carrot Pineapple Spice & Brownie Layer Cake with Cream & Cream Cheeze Frosting and a Single Marzipan Carrot.

Notes–

1. For the 3 eggs I added 1 tbsp plus 1 ½ tsp of Ener-G Egg Replacer dry. Do not mix with water.

2. Rather than making ¼ c reduced carrot juice, I just used ¼ c fresh carrot juice

3. For the brownie layer, use your favorite vegan brownie or chocolate cake recipe. Try to pick a recipe that makes moist or cakey brownies. My brownies were of the more traditional variety, less cakey and a bit more dense—like a blondie. My testers said that although they liked the flavor and texture of the brownie layer, they would have preferred if the brownie layer was the same consistency of the carrot-pineapple layers.

4. Irvin’s recipe for marzipan carrots is vegan. I had a tube of premade marzipan that I attempted to use, but it was crumbly. Anyhow, a normal tube of premade marzipan should work. Just grab some all natural orange food coloring by Select or India Tree and work it into the marzipan to get an orange carrot. For the carrot top, I colored some coconut flakes green

5. For my dirt layer, I used ground chocolate cookie crumbs

6. For my grass, I used green sprinkles

7.  And for the frosting, I used a basic vegan cream cheese frosting

I thought my cake turned out pretty hideous, especially in comparison to Irvin’s masterpiece, but people seemed to think it was endearing.

Red Potato & Gardein Chick’n Salad w/ Yogurt-Chive Dressing

Along with the great spread about Ojai Pixie Tangerines, the new issue of Sunset Magazine had this amazing looking potato salad meets chicken salad meets salad made out of lettuce. So… naturally, I thought, I want. Hence I went forth to the kingdom of Whole Foods and picked up some Gardein. I used fresh herbs from my garden and So Delicious yogurt. It was fresh, delicious and reminded me of Spring.

Red Potato & Gardein Salad w/ Yogurt-Chive Dressing

Veganized from Sunset Magazine

Ingredients:

1 1/4 lbs small or baby red potatoes, scrubbed, unpeeled

3 c loosely packed lettuce, I used romaine

1 c loosely packed chervil, roughly chopped

1 c loosely packed flat leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped

1/4 c fresh marjoram leaves, roughly chopped

1/4 c fresh tarragon leaves, roughly chopped

3 c Cooked Gardein Chick’n, chopped or cubed (Tuscan Breasts, filets, or scallopini will work)

1 13/ c So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt, plain flavor

1/2 c chives, chopped

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

Method:

Put potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 to 12 minutes. Depending on the size of your spuds, it may take a few more or a few less minutes, so be sure to check on them.

Place the lettuce, all of the herbs and Gardein in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, chives, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Slice the potatoes and add to herbs/chick’n. Add dressing and toss to combine. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Hip: A Vegetarian Joint.

This is a short follow up to yesterday’s post. While having a glorious time in ol’ Ojai, my friend Danielle found us this lovely little vegan gem of a cafe. Danielle is an omnivore, but she was more than happy to go vegan for the day on my behalf, which I totes appreciate!

Hip!

Anyhow, Hip was yummy. Nothing too grand, just sandwiches and wraps etc, but it really hit the spot after an amazing, but long day of exploring. I ended up ordering The Flashback sandwich, which was delicious and full of creamy avocados, but wasn’t very photogenic so no picture of that bad boy.

Danielle ordered the Ultimate Burger with juicy tempeh and seemed to enjoy it. Looks good huh?!?

Ultimate Burger.

So, if you’re ever going by way of Ojai and need a healthy and/or vegan lunch, hit up Hip!

928 E. Ojai Ave

Ojai, Ca 93023

805-646-1750

www.hipvegancafe.com

Oh hi, Ojai!

Beware, long post ahead! But full of lots of pretty pictures!

Recently I had the absolute pleasure of visiting Ojai, California with the lovely Danielle of Look Pretty.

I got the itch to visit Ojai after hearing about a lovely citrus farm, Friends’ Ranch. Friends is not a U-Pick farm, but they do offer farm tours in the Spring time where you get to explore the farm, hear about its rich history and eat as many ripe citrus as your heart (and mouth) desires! You also have the option to pick as much fruit as you want while on the tour and pay for it afterward. It was only $1.50 per pound! They even provide you with a cool tote bag to collect your fruit.

Danielle and I took the tour April 7th. We were able to enjoy W. Murcott Tangerines, Gold Nuggets, Minneloa Tangelos, Palestine Sweet Lime (which are actually lemons), Pomelo, Blood Oranges, and the star of the tour, the Ojai Pixie Tangerine (an Ojai specialty). These had to be the best tasting citrus I have ever had in my life. Every fruit we picked was juicy and sweet; each was so special and delicious in its own way. Farmers George and Emily really know what they’re doing! While I didn’t really get a chance to talk to Emily, George was as sweet as the citrus we ate.

W. Murcott Tree
Me picking Gold Nuggets, photo by Danielle of Look Pretty.
Photo by Danielle of Look Pretty.
Minneola Tangelo Tree.
Beautiful Danielle 🙂
Ojai Pixie. Naturally seedless and delicious! Photo by Danielle of Look Pretty.

Fortunately and unfortunately, Friends’ Ranch is featured in the current issue of Sunset Magazine, so their farm tours are currently sold out for 2012. Remember to check back with them next year and secure your spot on this amazing tour. I reserved our place just before the issue dropped, so we lucked out this time. If you just can’t go through the rest of Spring without tasting some of this incredible citrus, you can visit Friends’ packing house located across from the orchards. You can also find their sweet treats at LOTS of farmer’s market (yes, even in LA) and at Whole Foods Market.

Me, Farmer George, & Danielle 🙂

After our farm tour, Danielle and I decided to explore the little town of Ojai. We had an incredible time, and personally speaking, it stood out as being one of the best days I have had in a while. We got yummy iced tea, got some locally made lavender lemonade (a must try if visiting Ojai), visited lots of little shops, the Ojai Museum, got some locally made olive oil, went thrifting–which yielded a few amazing finds and then ate a yummy little vegan cafe called Hip. All around a fabulous trip! Now we just need to go back to go wine tasting and visit the olive farm. 🙂

Made w/ mostly organic ingredients, all natural, wholesome and delicious! A must try in Ojai.