Apple Pie with Honey & Thyme

How about a slice of apple pie?

I had the opportunity to stay at a beautiful house in Pasadena the past few days to watch some really lovely doggies. I’m a dogwalker and petsitter extraordinaire! So being at this lovely house with these sweet doggies inspired me to make something sweet. Apple Pie with Honey & Thyme. I really love the taste of fresh savory ingredients in desserts. My favorites are using vegan cheeze and fresh herbs in desserts and sweets.

Little squares I cut out and used rather than traditional lattice.

On Saturday, I had planned to make a Rosemary Apple Pie with my friend Galen. We ended up having so much fun making some Hatch Chile Chik’n Cacciatore that, unfortunately, we didn’t have thyme time for pie. Ha….see what I did there? I was still in the mood to bake a pie, so I decided on an apple pie made with a combination of Granny Smith and Golden Delicious Apples. I decided to add some local cactus honey that I tasted a while back at an awesome “Honey Tasting” held by an awesome little lady. The same friend also suggested that I enter a pie contest that’s approaching and I just might. I also decided that the addition of thyme would send this pie over the delicious edge.

Apple Pie with Local Honey and Fresh Thyme

Ingredients:

2 pie crusts. Use your favorite recipe–I used homemade whole wheat crusts for this pie.

3 Golden Delicious apples, cored and sliced–peeling optional

4 Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced–peeling optional

1/2 c local honey, divided–I used a combination of cactus honey and wildflower

6 branches fresh thyme, plus some extra leaves to add into the pie

2 tbsp instant tapioca–I used Let’s Do… Organic Brand

1/3 c golden brown mascobado sugar

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp salt

4 tbsp Earth Balance, divided in half

Method:

Preheat oven to 425°F.

If you have a giant skillet, you can do this in one batch. If not, you will have to do two batches–which is why certain ingredients up top have instruction to be divided. So, in one giant skillet or in two medium skillets, heat honey and bring to a boil. If using one skillet, use all of the honey, if using two, add a 1/4 c into each. Add 3 thyme branches to each skillet and then add your apples. Try not to overcrowd. I hate to dirty two pans, but the pie is worth if you have to. After you add your apples, go ahead and add two tbsp of Earthy B to each skillet. Cook the apples around 10 minutes. You’re not looking to cook them completely, just infuse some of that honey and thyme flavor. Pour both apple mixtures into a big ol’ mixing bowl, discarding your thyme branches along the way. Add your instant tapioca and reserve thyme leaves–how much you want to put in there is up to you. I put in at least a tsp or two to get more of that delicious thyme flavor with my apples and honey. Add your remaining ingredients, sugar, ginger and salt and stir every thing around real nice. Now is the time to roll out your bottom crust and stick that fella in your pie plate. How you want to do the top portion of the crust is up to you. You can see from my pictures that I decided to cut out little squares and rectangles and just layer them over the top of the pie. You can also do traditional lattice, or use cookie cutters to cover your pie in let’s say….foxes?!? Bake your pie for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350°F and continue to bake about 40 minutes. Let your pie cool for a minimum or 30 minutes before serving. Add some yummy So Delicious coconut milk ice cream if you please! The only thing left to do now is to snuggle up somewhere and enjoy your pie.

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The Galette Strikes Back.

Pineapple Galette

I promised I would come back with another galette post plus a recipe. I was hoping to have a gorgeous, picturesque, classic French looking galette, but alas, this galette has my usual “homemade” look. Yes, homemade looking sounds much better than crappy looking. Le sigh. Some day, I hope to create desserts that are both delicious AND presentable. Ay, I feel like such an amateur.

Well, on a more positive note, this galette is reaaaalllly delicious. I veganized this recipe from one of the greatest baking blogs ever, Eat the Love. Most of the recipes on the blog are not vegan, but I enjoy seeing what success I can have adapting the wonderful Irvin’s recipes into vegan creations.

Irvin made an additional rum-caramel sauce to top the galette, which sounded very yummy, but after going over the ingredients for the filling and crust, I deemed it sweet enough to go without the sauce. If you’re looking for an extra kick of rum or sweetness, head on over to Eat the Love and make up a batch. If you’re a strict vegan, just sub out the honey for brown rice syrup.

So, without further ado, please enjoy this yummy pineapple galette recipe.

Pineapple Galette

Ingredients:

Crust:

1 c unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 c whole wheat flour

2 tbsp arrowroot powder

1 tbsp golden brown mascobado sugar

1 tbsp golden flaxseed, finely ground

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp cold dark rum

5 tbsp Earth Balance

4 tbsp Earth Balance Coconut Spread

*2-3 tbsp cold water on reserve in the fridge, if needed

Make sure all of your ingredients are cold. This pastry recipe is slightly altered from the original recipe I used–my original dough was rather soft and delicate because it got warm very fast due to me making it on a hot day. If your dough becomes soft, you can stick it back in the fridge for a few minutes.

Mix both flours, arrowroot, flax, salt and sugar in medium mixing bowl. Whisk them until thoroughly mixed. Add both types of Earth Balance in tablespoons, cubes or small chunks. Cut it in with a pastry whisk, and mix until you have mixture starting to resemble damp sand.  Add the cold rum to the mixture and mix until a dough starts to come together. If your mixture is too dry, add some of the cold water you put in the fridge earlier. Add a little bit at a time. If for some reason you have dough that’s too wet, just add a bit more flour. Flatten your dough into a disk, wrap it up in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for a minimum of one hour or overnight.

Filling Ingredients:

2lbs of pineapple, fresh and cut into spears. After you grill it and let it cool, you will slice it up into smaller pieces.

1/4 c MimicCreme

2 tbsp arrowroot

1/2 c unbleached cane sugar

1 1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1 vanilla bean, split and beans scraped from both sides

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat.

Preheat your grill or a grill pan. If you’re using a grill pan, make sure to put some oil on it. I used my recently purchased Le Creuset grill pan and used coconut oil. Grill the pineapple for about 2-3 minutes of each side. Put the pineapple on a plate to cool. After the pineapple has cooled, go ahead and slice it up into small pieces.

Mix the MimicCreme, arrowroot, sugar, egg replacer, cinnamon, and salt. Use a sharp knife and split the vanilla bean lengthwise. Use the back or your knife or something flat and scrape out the vanilla beans. Add the vanilla beans to the mixture and reserve your vanilla bean pod for homemade vanilla extract or homemade vanilla sugar. Or, if you make the aforementioned rum caramel sauce, you can use it for that. Stir the mixture until the arrowroot is dissolved and everything is thoroughly mixed.

Roll out your dough on a well floured work surface. I made my galette circular in shape, but feel free to make a rectangle or other shape. Place the dough on the baking sheet with silpat. Add the sliced pineapple in whatever pattern you please. Pour the cream, sugar, arrowroot mixture over the pineapple, very slowly. Don’t make a puddle. It’s okay to stop pouring, even if you have a lot left in your bowl. Start to fold up the sides of the galette. Once completely folded, pour the remainder or the cream mixture over the exposed pieces of pineapple. Place in the hot oven and bake about 40-45 min or until the edges of your galette start to turn golden and the fruit inside is bubbling.

If you want to make the caramel sauce, now is the time to head to Irvin’s awesome blog and start making it!

Now slice up that galette and serve. Maybe with some vanilla coconut milk ice cream. 🙂

A lil slice of gold!

World’s Best Grilled Cheeze.

Granny Smith Apples. Tempeh Bacon. Roasted Red Onion Vegenaise. Cheddar Daiya. Rocky Mountain Sourdough.

Meet the best grilled cheeze ever. I’m pretty sure Paula Deen is the one responsible for this recipe idea. Yes, you read right. I said Paula Deen! Haha, she’s like the anti-vegan, but some of her outrageously decadent butter-fest food is easily veganizable and instantly made that much better.

And I have to say, this grilled cheeze is the best I’ve ever eaten. Once I took the first bite, I nearly died of a mouthgasm and knew that I would be making many more of these in the future. I wish I had gotten some better pictures, but these will have to do and you’ll just have to trust me 🙂

World’s Best Grilled Cheeze w/ “Bacon”, Apples and Roasted Red Onion Veganaise

Ingredients:

Earth Balance

Bread (your choice, but I used Rudi’s Rocky Mountain Sourdough for this sammich)

Granny Smith Apple, unpeeled and sliced thinly

Tempeh Bacon (homemade, or lightlife brand. You can give it a quick saute, or toast it, or just leave it as is)

Daiya, Cheddar Style (if possible, try to get it in a block so you can slice it yourself. Or, some Whole Foods sell Daiya by the pound behind the cheese counter. You can custom order how much you want by weight and the cheese guy will slice it up for you if you want. They do the same behind the deli counter at Figueroa Produce Market)

Roasted Red Onion Vegeanise (recipe follows)

Method:

Preheat a a panini pan over medium heat or fire up your panini press. If you don’t have either, just heat two skillets and make your panini the old fashioned way. Spread some Earthy B on the outside of both slices of bread. Spread some roasted red onion Vegenaise on your bread and layer your Daiya, tempeh bacon and apples. Take your panini (I use tongs) and place it in your panini pan, on your press or in your first skillet. Then grill the panini. If you’re using two skillets, just take the second heated skillet, and place it inside/on top on the other skillet with the sandwich in it. Use a very good oven mitt or glove so you are able to press the skillet down with some pressure, be careful not to burn yourself. In a preheated press, pan or skillet, it only takes a minute to make. Remove as soon as your bread is toasty and the Daiya is melted.

Roasted Red Onion Vegenaise

Ingredients:

1 medium red onion, chopped

2 tsp safflower oil

1 c Vegenaise (you can use your favorite, I like the reduced fat type)

unbleached sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Method:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Toss the onion pieces in the oil, salt & pepper and spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a silpat. Bake about 25 minutes, tossing the onions around once or twice. Remove the onions from the oven and let them cool. Then combine your onion pieces in a food processor with your Vegenaise. You can either blend it up until completely smooth or leave some chunky bits of onion. This recipe makes more than enough for one sandwich, so make a bunch for you and some friends or family or store it in jar and keep it in the fridge to use on sandwiches throughout the week.

Happy Labor Day everyone!

Eat me!

Empanadas.

I thought I wouldn’t have time to post again, but guess what? I finished work a bit early and just found some time to do a post. Yay.

Empanadas are delicious little stuffed pockets of goodness. They originated in Spain and Portugal and can be traced back to the 1500’s. Damn empanadas, you’re old! Both empanadas and calzones are thought to have been inspired by the samosa. I guess everyone likes to put their own spin on stuffed pockets of food…. people just love to stuff food into other food. Empanadas can be baked or fried, but I have never fried them. I save frying for pupusas.

Anyhow, some of my favorite empanadas are the ones below from Veganomicon.

Acorn Squash & Black Bean Empanadas
Delicious Stuffed Food Pockets of Yum

More recently, I was invited to a potluck by my awesome friend of I Dream of Greenie and I decided to make some….you guessed it, empanadas! This time I decided to veganize a recipe for Spicy Duck Empanadas w/ Citrus Blackberry Dipping Sauce. The end results were pretty yummy, although they were “spiced”, not spicy. They were a success at the potluck, the first dish to be completely eaten….although, I only made a baker’s dozen so there really weren’t that many. I was running short on time, so I just made enough to fill one baking sheet. I did have enough filling and dough for a second batch, but didn’t have time to let them bake.

Now the Spiced “Duck” Empanadas can be in your mouth with this recipe.

Spiced “Duck” Empanadas w/ Citrus Blackberry Dipping or Drizzling Sauce

Ingredients:

1 recipe empanada dough (you can use your favorite. I like the one from Veganomicon, so that’s typically the one I use)

2 cans vegetarian mock duck, drained & chopped  (omg what?!?!–You can try making your own mock duck from scratch, but just warning you that it is a process and a half because the majority of recipes you’ll find will use veggies rather than seitan. If you want to skip that step, find an asian grocer and check for canned mock duck. I get mine from 99 Ranch Market in Monterey Park. While you’re there, you can get all kinds of other delicious asian goodies. Don’t be scared that it’s in a can. It’s just seitan and only has like 3 ingredients so it’s not scary. I’ve never eaten actual duck, but from what I hear, the flavors are very, very similar)

3 tbsp Earth Balance

1/2 c port wine or other full bodied red wine

1 small red onion, minced or diced finely

1/4 lb button mushrooms, chopped (you can vary this up w/ different ones. Shitakes might be nice too)

1/4 c “beef” broth (I like Better than Boullion’s No Beef flavor, but Edward & Sons also makes good boullion cubes)

1/4 c smashed roasted garlic* (see tip at bottom for roasting garlic if you don’t know how)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp lavender

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 c fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Citrus-Blackberry Sauce (recipe follows)

Method:

Melt Earth Balance in a medium to large skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Add the mock duck to the pan. Saute for about a minute, then add the wine. Cook for another minute or so, then add the onion. Saute the onion until it starts to look translucent or close to getting there. Then add your mushrooms. Cook until the mushroom release most of their liquid and cook a lil longer until that liquid reduces from the pan. Stir in the broth, garlic, and spices. Cook until the broth starts to cook away. Remove from heat and let cool to room temp, then add your cilantro. Your filling will look like this:

Spiced "Duck" Empanada Filling

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with silpats (which you should TOTES have) or parchment if you fail at life and don’t have silpats. Sorry, that was mean, but get yourself a frickin’ silpat. It will save you $ on parchment and will help the environment by not creating so much waste w/ parchment and packaging.

Now, here you can get creative. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out your empanada dough until it’s pretty thin. Not too thin, because you don’t want it break open when you’re trying to fold these guys. Now, here you can either use a round cookie cutter, or pint glass to cut circles, or you can use a pastry cutter to cut out squares. I like to do squares so my empanadas take a triangle shape, rather than a half moon shape. Either way, cut yourself some squares or circles. The size is up to you.

Anyhow, scoop about a tbsp worth of filling into each piece of dough and fold. If you’re making triangles, you’ll want to fold one corner diagonally over the other, just like you would folding a square of paper, to make a triangle shape. Hopefully, we are all familiar with shapes so this shouldn’t be too difficult. If you’re doing circles, just place your filling in the middle and fold your circle in half to create a half moon. I generally have success just pressing the edges together to seal the empanadas, but if your fingers are failing, grab a fork and use that to press the edges down. Remember to poke or slice a vent or two for steam into the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops or edges of the empanadas are looking golden.

Spiced "Duck" Empanadas

Whilst the empanadas are baking, make the sauce!

Citrus-Blackberry Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

1 tbsp Earth Balance

1/4 c shallot, minced

1 1/4 c fresh blackberries

1/4 c raspberry vinegar

1/4 c white wine

1/4 c orange juice

2 tbsp orange zest (zest the orange before you juice!)

2 tbsp packed brown sugar

2 tbsp pure maple syrup

Method:

Melt Earthy B in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and saute for about a minute. Add the blackberries, wine, vinegar, orange juice & zest, brown sugar and maple syrup. Reduce heat to medium and cook about 10 minutes or until it starts to turn syrupy. While the sauce is cooking, I like to smash up the blackberries with my wooden spoon or spatula. If you like very smooth sauces, you can transfer this to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. I don’t mind the delicious little bits of food though, so I leave it as is. Use this sauce to either drizzle over the empanadas or to dip them in. 🙂

*To Roast Garlic: Preheat oven to 325°F. Start with a whole, unpeeled head and cut off the bottom with a sharp knife. If you don’t have a very sharp knife, cut off the top of the garlic. Oil a tiny baking dish (like a creme brulee dish or ramekin) with a high heat oil. Place the garlic in the dish and drizzle a tiny bit of oil on top. Cover with foil and bake for 45-60 min until the garlic is soft. Let cool slightly and the garlic should just squeeze right out of the skins when you give it a little push.

Food Porn.

Hi. Hi blog. I feel like I haven’t seen you in so long! I have been a busy, busy little bee lately. Unlike some people, I DO NOT like to be overly busy with plans and commitments. I am, and have always been the kind of person who requires substantial alone time and a fair share of down time. Doing things like cooking up something new and exciting, reading a copy of VegNews, watching a dvd and more are all things that I love to do. Not having time to do those things and other hobbies makes me a sad, sad panda fox. And a stressed fox. A sad, stressed fox.

Anyhow, I am hoping things will calm down for me once fall gets into gear. When the days get shorter, people usually don’t like to do as much. Does that fall under environmental determinism? Or is that just climate and weather? Who knows. I have been 3 kinds of Eddie Murphy Delirious lately, so excuse me if I don’t make sense.

Enough about me! How dare I! I have some better posts with recipes that I will try to post later this week . But for now, here is some food porn of what I have been eating lately.

Tempeh Shawarma w/ Tabouleh Salad
Seared Tempeh over Mashed Potatoes & Cherry-Balsamic Reduction
Cumin & Avocado Oil Rubbed Portobello Mushroom Tortas w/ Purple Basil Aioli and Dragonfruit Pico de Gallo

The Daiya doesn’t look that melted in the pic, but I assure you it was!

Curried "Pork", Enoki Mushroom & Purple Basil Spring Rolls w/ Porcini-Shoyu-Sake Reduction
Lavender Fettucine w/ Basil-Mint Aioli and Wild Arugula
Coffee Rubbed "Steak" Tacos w/ Lobster Mushroom, Heirloom Cherry Tomato & Corn Salsa
Coffee Rubbed "Steak" Tacos w/ Lobster Mushroom, Heirloom Cherry Tomato & Corn Salsa
Heirloom Tomato, Black Garlic & Marsala-Roasted Chickpea Panzanella
Lemon-Artichoke Homemade Pasta in a Heirloom Tomato-Cream Vinaigrette w/ English Peas & "Prosciutto"

Most of these recipes (but not all) were from my favorite cookbook, Jenn Shagrin’s Veganize This! You can always expect an amazing meal when cooking from Jenn’s blog or book. Love that lady!

Did someone say Galette?

I have had galettes on my mind lately. If you’re wondering what they are, well then, what a perfect time for me to ‘splain it to chu. The word galette is used by the French to describe a free-form pastry of sorts. I tend to think of them as free form pies, but the term loosely applies to several different types of pastry including cake-like things and oversized cookie things.

Anyhow, I will do a recipe for a galette sometime soon, but for now, I need to work on my form. Actually, I’d like to work on presentation and visual improvements with many of the dishes I make, especially desserts. I have been thinking about doing a cake decorating class at my local Michael’s store to start–yes, Michael’s has cake decorating classes! 🙂 My dishes are usually full of flavor, but I think they could definitely stand to look a little better visually. Here are some past galettes I’ve made and I think I am improving on my folding techniques. What do you think?

My 1st Galette: Roasted Butternut Squash, Onion Galette w/ Apples, Soy Bleu Cheeze and Fresh Herbs from my garden.

My first thought after making this was that I should have spent more time making the folds. Just doesn’t look French enough to me. 😉

Rustic Apricot and Raspberry Galette

I was a bit more successful with this Rustic Apricot and Raspberry galette I made. I like to leave my galettes open-faced so that you can see some of the goodies inside. I think I did better with this one because I made it smaller than the first, savory style one I made above. I made this one with a touch of Grand Marnier; idea and recipe adapted from Ladycakes. 🙂

Apple-Rhubarb Galette w/ Coconut Crust & Cinnamon Sugar

This is my most recent creation. Again, this one could stand a visual/presentation improvement I think. Although, I was pressed for time when I made this one and the pie dough I had made the night before was taking absolutely forever to reach a workable temperature. It’s because I made the crust with organic virgin coconut oil as my fat, with a tiny bit of Earth Balance–then stored it in the fridge overnight. You should never store your jar of coconut oil in the fridge because it becomes unworkably hard. At the same time, it’s way more convenient to make pastry dough in advance and it’s necessary to store it in the fridge or freezer, coconut oil or not. It helps to roll the dough out into a flat disc, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. That way, it will be easier to roll out and will warm up a bit faster…but don’t let it get too warm! Oh pastry dough, you’re so high maintenance!

Slice of Apple-Rhubarb Galette

I think to be a proper galette, the pastry must hold a slice when cut. I feel the same way about pie. If it doesn’t hold a slice, it’s still wonderful and delicious, but I think it becomes something else. A delicious pile of sweetness can still be amazing 🙂

I’ll be working on some fall galettes or maybe an end of summer peach galette? Either way, I’ll try to come back with a recipe so you all can get to making some yummy galettes.

Parisian Mac’ n Cheeze with Figs & Mushrooms

Figs.

Lately, I have seen so many beautiful varieties of figs appearing at local farmer’s markets and Whole Foods. I decided to pick up some mission figs and some green ones. A few weeks back, I had heard something about some kind of Parisian style famous mac’ n cheese with figs and mushrooms. I have no idea whether or not people in France really eat mac’ n cheeze this way or not, but I decided to do a vegan version anyway, using both varieties of figs and cremini mushrooms.

I roasted the figs with black pepper, fresh rosemary from the garden, and honey. I drizzled a very small amount  of oil in the bottom of my baking dish so that the figs wouldn’ get stuck.

I sauteed some cremini mushrooms in Earth Balance and then boiled some spelt pasta shells. I then made this sauce using yummy Daiya cheeze.

Daiya Cheeze Sauce for Mac’ n Cheeze

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c non-dairy milk

2 tsp dijon mustard

1 1/2 c Daiya cheddar style

3 tbsp Earth Balance

3 tbsp all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp all natural orange food coloring (optional)

Method:

Start by melting the Earthy B with the flour and making a yellow roux. Add non-dairy milk and dijon. Whisk about 10 min. When mixture is thick and bubbly, add Daiya and food coloring if using. Taste for salt, add some if it’s not salty enough for you.

Parisian Mac' n Cheeze w/ Roasted Figs & Mushrooms

This is sort of a heavy sauce, and makes for a richer meal than most meals that I eat regularly, but it’s good to be decadent once in a while. Also, be sure you like fresh figs. Sometimes certain varieties can taste rather earthy, other varieties are very sweet. Just use your favorite or a combination or dried figs. There is lots of wiggle room for the mushrooms, so don’t feel like you have to use creminis.

Figs are your friend!