Peach-Blueberry Pie w/ Lavender & Coconut Scented Crust.

The first thing I want to say is forgive the ugly photos. This is a pie I threw together a couple of years ago. It turned out pretty amazing, but I’ve never gotten around to taking some better pictures of it. The coconut scentedness was not entirely on purpose. I wanted to make a wheat crust with coconut oil, but I had run out of the refined (the kind with no coconut smell or taste). I only had virgin coconut oil on hand, so whatever, I used it. I thought it added a delightful dimension to this pie. Nowadays I typically like to use a combination of virgin coconut oil and Earth Balance Coconut Spread.

The crust recipe doubles just fine if you want two pie crusts. Making the crust as is, will yield one bottom crust plus enough scraps to make some leaves or decorations.

Peach-Blueberry Pie with Lavender & Coconut Scented Crust

Ingredients:

Crust:

1 c unbleached all-purpose flour

1 c whole wheat flour

7 1/2 tbsp virgin coconut oil (you’ll need this to be solid, but not refrigerated)

1/4 c Earth Balance Coconut Spread

1/4 c unbleached cane sugar

pinch sea salt

1 tbsp ice cold water

1 tbsp vodka

Filling:

3 c yellow peaches, blanched, skins removed, and cut into slices

2 c blueberries

3/4 c unbleached cane sugar

2 heaping tbsp arrowroot powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 heaping tbsp dried lavender

Method:

To make the crust, combine the flours, sugar and salt. Add the coconut oil and spread in tablespoons or chunks. Use a pastry cutter to cut in the coconut oil and spread until you start seeing fine crumbs. Add the ice water and vodka. Stir until a dough starts to come together. If you need more liquid, add more ice water 1 tbsp at a time. Take your ball of dough and flatten it into a disk. Cover in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for at least an hour or until you’re ready to use it.

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Take the crust from the fridge and roll it out to fit your pie plate. Use the remaining dough to cut out shapes for the top. Poke the crust with a fork for ventilation. I didn’t have pie weights back when I first started making this pie, so I don’t think you’ll need them. Use them if you have them, or if you want to use dried rice or beans as weights, go right ahead! Remember to line your crust with parchment if you’re using weights of any kind. Bake crust at 450°F for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.

For the filling, place the fruit in a big mixing bowl. Add sugar, arrowroot, cinnamon and lavender.

Pour the filling into the crust and bake pie for about 10 min at 450°F. Lower oven temp to 350°F and bake pie  about 35 min or until filling is hot and bubbling.

 

Cherry-Bulgur Burgers w/ Rosemary & Daiya Jack Cheese.

Look. I’m posting a recipe for something savory. Sort of. 😉

These burgers are pretty easy to put together and they grill really nicely. I made them on Sputnik (it looks like a satellite), my tabletop outdoor grill. Don’t forget the vegan cheese as the it cuts the sweetness of the cherries. If you can’t get ahold of the new Daiya wedges, use your favorite vegan cheese you have access to. If you can’t get any near you, try making your own at home. There are a lot of recipes for nut based cheeses online and in various vegan cookbooks.

Cherry-Bulgur Burgers w/ Rosemary & Daiya Jack Cheese

Adapted from Sunset Magazine

Ingredients:

2 tbsp bulgur wheat

1 c chopped onion + one additional onion cut into slices (grill the slices for extra delicious, or just reserve them to top your burgers with)

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3 c Vegenaise (I like the reduced fat version)

2 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped finely and divided

zest of half a lemon

3/4 tsp black pepper, divded

scant cup dried cherries

1 tsp sea salt

one package Gimme Lean Ground Beef Style

one Daiya Jack wedge (you’ll need about 6 slices)

hamburger buns

lettuce

Method:

Combine the bulgur with 1/3 c boiling water. Let it stand for about 10 min. If not all of the water is completely absorbed after 10 min, microwave the bulgur for about a minute until the water is absorbed.

In a bowl, combine the Vegenaise, lemon zest, 1/2 tsp of rosemary and 1/4 tsp back pepper. Mix and set in the fridge to chill.

Now grab a pan to cook your chopped onion. Heat about a tbsp of oil and add the onion. Cook for 10-15 min until the onion is golden. Add the garlic and give it a stir. Remove from heat and scrape contents into a large bowl. Add the bulgur, and Gimme Lean beef, remaining rosemary, salt and remaining pepper.

Whirl the cherries in a food processor to break them up a bit, or just give them a good chop with a sharp knife. Add the cherries to the bowl.

Use your hands to really mash everything together. Take handfuls of the mixture and form burger patties to your desired size. I made about 6 patties.

Now you can cook the burgers in pan, or do what I did and grill them. If you decide to grill them, add the vegan cheese in the last few minutes. The new Daiya wedges are a lot softer than the shreds and they melt more easily, so you won’t need to leave them for too long. I also like to grill or toast my buns. Rudi’s Organic Whole Buns are my favorite to use, just in case you were wondering. 😉 Add desired amount of Vegenaise, some nice crispy lettuce and some onions (which I hope you grilled!).

 

Black Garlic Brownies w/ Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Topping & Kabobs.

Black garlic; a fine ingredient for brownies. No seriously. It’s made by fermenting regular garlic. It’s sweet and savory at the same time and totally delicious. To make these brownies, add 1 head of smashed black garlic to your mix and bake as usual. Top them with this simple tofu-cream cheese based puree and it’s heaven in your mouth. I’d post my brownie recipe, but it’s really not that different the one in Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. I just use slightly different measurements and a brown rice flour/all purpose flour blend and no starch. Well, so it’s a little different, but really, we don’t need another vegan brownie recipe. Just spice up your favorite recipe.

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Swirl

Ingredients:

1/4 container Galaxy Foods cream cheese

1/2 box firm or extra firm silken tofu (Mori-Nu brand)

2 tbsp agave nectar or unbleached cane sugar

1 vanilla bean, scraped

pinch sea salt

Method: Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.

Dollop or swirl into brownie batter and bake as usual!

I also decided to start breaking in my tabletop grill for the summer. Most people have probably been grilling for over a month now, but I hadn’t felt inspired. I saw these kabobs on an episode of Giada at Home and I thought I’d give them a try. I followed the recipe except used Field Roast Apple Sage sausages. The Italian flavor would have worked too. Anyhow, they are super simple to put together and the lemon reaaaallllyyy makes them. They’re just a little different than standard kabobs and they’re very tasty.

White Chocolate Pistachio Cookie Bars w/ Strawberry-Balsamic Topping.

It’s obvious by now. I could spend the rest of my days creating vegan versions of Eat the Love recipes. It’s like….my favorite. My absolute favorite. I know this may seem strange, but I know I have a similar palate to certain omnivores. It’s strange, because they eat so much differently than I do. I just know that Irvin’s combinations really strike a chord in me. Not only do they inspire me, but some of my vegan versions of his treats are the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. My own recipe creations are always and ever evolving and really hope to be as inspired and creative as Irvin is someday. I feel the same way about Geoffrey Zakarian and less so about Giada, but many of her recipes translate into some damn fine veganese cuisine.

But on to the recipe. These were originally blondies on Irvin’s site, but the vegan version most definitely translates more to a cookie bar than a blondie…meaning, instead of being chewy, or slightly cakey or of general brownie/blondie texture, this is more of a cookie dough that you take and bake into a huge delicious square instead of round flat circles. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

White Chocolate Pistachio Cookie Bars w/ Strawberry Balsamic Topping

Adapted from Eat the Love

Ingredients:

1/2 c vegan white chocolate chips

3/4 c Earth Balance

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 tsp Ener-g Egg Replacer, dry

3/4 c brown sugar

3/4 c unbleached cane sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

2 c unbleached all-purpose flour

1 pistachio meal (shell pistachios and make this in a food processor–be careful not to blend to long or you will get paste)

For the topping:

1 c strawberries, chopped

1 tbsp unbleached cane sugar

1 tsp tapioca starch

3 tsp balsamic vinegar, divded.

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8×8 or 9×9 square pan. Line with parchment paper.

Place the Earth Balance, olive oil, and sugars in the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream together until light and fluffy and the color of cinnamon sugar. Add the egg replacer, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Add vanilla extract. Add the salt and beat to incorporate. Add the flour and pistachio meal, mix to incorporate. The dough may seem just a bit dry, that is okay. Press firmly into your pan.

Make the topping by adding all ingredients except 1 tsp of balsamic to a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the strawberries start to release their juices and the mixtures thickens slightly. Remove from heat and then stir in your reserved 1 tsp of balsamic. Use a rubber spatula to spread this topping over the cookie bars. Do not try to swirl it in, the cookie bars will be more of a dough than a batter, so swirling is not really possible here. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Let bars cool before slicing them.

M&M Peach Ranch + Blueberry-Cherry Red Wine Pie.

The title of this post is deceiving. I went to M&M Peach Ranch to pick, what turned out to be, the BEST Bing cherries ever. It was a lovely day with some lovely friends. M&M Peach Ranch does, of course, grow peaches as well, but they are late season peaches typically ripe in September. I will be back for those. 😉

My friend Michelle enjoying a Bing. 🙂 Photo by Danielle of Look Pretty.
Getting my Bing on. Photo by Danielle of Look Pretty.

It was a great and beautiful cherry picking experience. The cherries were ripe as could be, organic and $4 per lb which is pretty cheap for cherries in Southern California, even conventional cherries. The farmers were extremely nice and so helpful. I am looking forward to going back for some yummy peaches.

I ended up doing 3 things with my cherries:

1. I made Brandied Cherries with some of my Bings and Ranier cherries. (results to come!)

2. I made the Blueberry-Cherry Red Wine Pie from Eat the Love. (to make vegan, just sub out butter for Earth Balance, reduce salt in crust, and add a bit more liquid than called for–for the dough. Really easy! I used Green Bridge Organic Petite Sirah for the red, and as usual, subbed the cornstarch out for arrowroot.

3. I ATE SOOOO MANY.

Pie cooling on a windowsill. It happens in real life!
Nevermind my funky lattice. Not really sure what was going on in my mind while I was doing it.
Looks a lil flat, but I assure it was filled with the most fantastic berry filling ever.

Tomato & Corn Pie.

This is not a new recipe. I have seen it floating around the interwebs for a while. It’s because it’s full of awesome. The original, from Smitten Kitchen is not vegan, but with some very simple edits can be made dairy free in a snap. This savory pie tastes like summer. If you’re into summer and some of the wonders that summer brings (corn and tomatoes) then you will love this pie.

I’m going to re-post the recipe from Smitten Kitchen with the vegan edits—

Tomato and Corn Pie

The Vegan Version.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 3/4 teaspoons salt, divided *reduce salt for the crust to 1/4 or 1/2 tsp. Since Earth Balance contains salt already, you don’t need as much.
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons or 3 ounces) cold unsalted butter Earth Balance, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 2 teaspoons melted
3/4 cup whole milk almond milk
1/3 cup mayonnaise Vegenaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 3/4 pounds beefsteak tomatoes
1 1/2 cups organic non-gmo corn (from about 3 ears), coarsely chopped by hand (my preference) or lightly puréed in a food processor  I opted to leave my corn whole and it worked out just fine!, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil, divided (skipped this, no harm was done)***I also omitted the basil when I made the pie
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
7ounces coarsely grated sharp Cheddar Daiya Cheddar (1 3/4 cups), divided **you can buy the pre-packaged shreds, or you can buy a whole block and grate it yourself. I haven’t attempted to grate the new wedges yet, but I bet they will grate just fine if you get them cold enough.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt in a bowl, then blend in cold Earthy B. (3/4 stick) with your fingertips or a pastry blender until it resembles coarse meal. Add almond milk, stirring until mixture just forms a dough, then gather into a ball.

Divide dough in half and roll out one piece on a well-floured counter (my choice) or between two sheets of plastic wrap (the recipe’s suggestion, but I imagined it would annoyingly stick to the plastic) into a 12-inch round (1/8 inch thick). Either fold the round gently in quarters, lift it into a 9-inch pie plate and gently unfold and center it or, if you’re using the plastic warp method, remove top sheet of plastic wrap, then lift dough using bottom sheet of plastic wrap and invert into pie plate. Pat the dough in with your fingers trim any overhang.

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. If your kitchen is excessively warm, as ours is, go ahead and put the second half of the dough in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Whisk together Vegenaise and lemon juice.

Cut an X in bottom of each tomato and blanch in a large pot of boiling water 10 seconds. Immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to cool. Peel tomatoes, then slice crosswise 1/4 inch thick and, if desired (see Notes above recipe), gently remove seeds and extra juices. Arrange half of tomatoes in crust, overlapping, and sprinkle with half of corn, one tablespoon basil, 1/2 tablespoon chives, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and one cup of grated Daiya cheese. Repeat layering with remaining tomatoes, corn, basil, chives, salt, and pepper. Pour lemon Vegenaise over filling and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Roll out remaining piece of dough into a 12-inch round in same manner, then fit over filling, folding overhang under edge of bottom crust and pinching edge to seal. Cut 4 steam vents in top crust and brush crust with melted Earth Balance (2 teaspoons). Bake pie until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes, then cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.