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Posts Tagged ‘vegan’

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If you’ve never eaten raw cheesecake before, you will be shocked at how much like traditional (think Kraft Philadelphia cream cheese) cheesecake it tastes! In fact, I prefer raw vegan desserts over traditional desserts nearly all the time now. A few exceptions include my lemon olive oil cake and chocolate rosemary cake. As an added bonus, most traditional desserts, even when they’re made with reduced sugar, contain either dairy or gluten–both of which many of us would like to avoid these days. Even if a dairy-laden dessert (e.g., panna cotta, cheesecake, etc.) doesn’t result in uncomfortable and unpleasant side effects, such as gas, cramping and bloating, I always feel “ugh” after eating it.

But after indulging in even a large piece of raw vegan cheesecake, I might feel full, but I also feel light and comfortable and I love knowing I just consumed something that tasted delicious and was actually good for me. Soaked cashews give raw cheesecakes an insanely creamy silky texture that I find superior to anything you get using traditional cream cheese.

Just a few months ago, I served a raw vegan lemon cheesecake to my father who is approaching 80 and is very–did I mention very–traditional about food, particularly dessert. He gave the cheesecake a thumbs up and was shocked to learn it was dairy-free.

Although this recipe is for strawberry cheesecake, you can easily substitute raspberries, blueberries or mango for the top layer. Maybe some really clever cook more talented than me will make three layers of fruit, which would look awfully pretty once sliced.

 

Ingredients

Crust:

3/4 cup walnuts

1/2 cup almond meal

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted

Pinch of kosher salt

Filling:

1 cup cashews, soaked in salted water overnight

1/2 cup plant milk (I use almond)

1/8cup coconut oil, melted

2 tbsp pure maple syrup

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Pinch kosher salt

Topping:

2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled

1-2 tbsp pure maple syrup

1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

 

Preparation

Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

Process the ingredients for the crust in a food processor using the pulse function until you get a similar texture to this (see photo). Dump the crumbly mixture into the pan and use your hands to press it firmly and evenly into the bottom. Place in the fridge to set while you prepare the filling.

 

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Drain the soaked cashews and rinse with filtered water. Place all the ingredients for the filling in a high-powered blender (such as a Vitamix), and blend, starting on low and moving to high until you have a completely even, creamy consistency. Pour the filling mixture over the crust and place in the freezer for 1 hour.

Put the ingredients for the topping into a blender and process until it’s a thick, even consistency. Pour over the filling and return to the freezer for 4-5 hours.

Transfer the cheesecake from the freezer to the fridge at least 1 hour before serving.

Enjoy!

 

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EF cookies bakedEF cookies stored

 

I’m still sticking to the egg-free diet in solidarity with my daughter. It’s been two months, and I admit, it’s been easier than expected. I think the thing I miss most and have to hassle with most often is aioli. I rarely eat sandwiches, but when I do, some sort of aioli, is usually part of it–think pesto, cilantro or roasted red pepper aioli. I also eat French fries infrequently, but when I do, they’re usually sweet potato fries, and I only want to dip them in wasabi aioli.

I also miss all the baked goods I made regularly. I’ve learned it’s tough to give up eggs and be gluten-free or grain-free. All those grain-free treats I made using almond flour instead of regular wheat flour require eggs, and egg replacers only work some of the time.

But my determination to offer my daughter familiar things, has led me to try numerous egg-free recipes, some of which have been disastrous while others have been huge hits. For example, the egg-free pancakes I posted last now stand as her favorite pancakes, and it appears that the previous oatmeal and egg version she loved is all but forgotten. The egg-free waffles I’ve been experimenting with still aren’t ready to share, but I’m starting to wonder if part of the problem is my actual waffle iron, which has to be close to 20 years old.

These cookies definitely make the grade. They boast great flavor, texture and just the right amount of sweetness, and the inside of the cookies stay chewy while the outer edges get crispy–just how we like our cookies to be! I make mine with butter, but you could easily substitute coconut oil for the butter and make completely vegan cookies.

(Adapted from Madhuram’s Eggless Cooking.)

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Ingredients

1  cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole-grain spelt flour

1/4 cup flaxmeal

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1/2 cup (scant) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (scant) brown sugar

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

4- 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G (egg substitute)

6 Tbsp water

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips*

1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped (optional)

*I like to use the Enjoy Life Vegan Chocolate Chips

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper to fit.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugars and vanilla using an electric mixer.

Put the egg replacer in a small bowl and whisk in the water gradually until thoroughly blended. Add this mixture to the butter mixture and blend until thoroughly combined.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

 

Fold the flour mixture into the wet mixture and stir until just blended. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts, if using.

 

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Using a tablespoon, drop the dough onto the baking sheet. (The dough can be quite sticky, so I usually use two spoons for this.)

 

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Bake 10 -12 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.

Let cool for at least 5 minutes, then enjoy warm or at room temperature. You can store the cookies for several days in an airtight container.

Yields approximately 24 3-inch diameter cookies.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

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This smoothie is for those days you wake up and simply aren’t excited for a glass of greens, or eggs and bacon, or whatever you usual go-to breakfast is. It’s the kind of drink you want when life has been hectic and you want something soothing and nurturing both in nutrients and taste. Because this smoothie tastes like a dessert to me, I probably make it more often than I should (if you believe too many nuts is a bad thing!).

I’ve been experimenting a lot with cashews lately, and I hope to post some of the winning recipes here soon. Cashews make everything better, in my opinion. They impart a delicious creaminess that many think is only achievable with dairy products. I’ve been trying some cheesecake recipes that are completely vegan. They’ve all been delicious, but I’m just tweaking the recipes to get them right before sharing.

I love this shake because it feels like a warm hug even though it’s cold and creamy. It’s naturally sweet from the banana and dates, and the cardamon adds just a touch of unexpected flavor that lets your mind to travel to distant lands. (OK, you’re wondering *what* else is she putting in her shake?! But I’m serious, sip this drink in a quiet room and your mind might just conjure up images from A Passage to India, The English Patient, or Lawrence of Arabia.)

 

Ingredients

1 cup filtered water or coconut water

1/3 cup raw, unsalted cashews

1/2 a banana, peeled

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 Medjool dates, pitted

1/4 tsp ground cardamon

The tiniest pinch of salt

3-4 ice cubes

 

Preparation

Whizz everything together in a high-powered blender until smooth and creamy. If it’s too thick for your taste, thin with a little more water or ice.

Sit back and enjoy!

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asp soup above

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Hopefully you wore at least a wee bit of green, and thus avoided getting pinched by traditional St Patty’s Day revelers. I caught myself short walking the children to school this morning when I realized I hadn’t made certain they were wearing green. By sheer, dumb luck, they both had a little (i.e., a tiny green anchor on a shirt and a little green swoosh on a pair of shoes) without having intentionally chosen any green clothing.

While I may have forgotten to dress my children in green, I had intended to post this recipe for asparagus soup first thing this morning. But as sometimes happens, life interferes with our plans. Yesterday turned out to be a random day off from school for teacher training, and I found myself at the San Francisco Zoo with three little ones in tow. There the day went.

While I’m not a particularly big fan of Saint Patrick’s Day, I do love the color green–in fact, it’s my favorite color. And I love that green represents living things, the Earth and Spring. So in honor of the color more than the day, I plan to post several green-colored dishes this week, along with a few random “green” photos.

This soup has a lovely green color and is a perfect way to celebrate spring! You can use olive oil in place of the butter and coconut milk in place of the cream to make this soup vegan. It’s delicious either way.

asp soup side

 

Ingredients

2 lbs fresh asparagus, rinsed
6 cups organic chicken stock
3 tbsp unsalted butter, ghee or olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 cup leeks, whites only, thinly sliced and well rinsed
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream or coconut milk (not lite!)asp soup chop

 


Preparation

Trim the top tips from the asparagus, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in length and set aside. Cut off the woody stem ends from each spear and reserve, then cut the remaining stalks into 1/2-inch pieces.

In a medium-size pot, bring the stock to boil. Add the tough woody stems, lower the heat and simmer 20 to 30 minutes. This helps infuse the stock with additional asparagus flavor. Remove with a slotted spoon and discard, reserving the stock.

Add the asparagus tips to the stock and blanch until just tender and bright green, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and refresh in an ice water bath. Drain on paper towels and set them aside for the garnish. Reserve the stock.

In another medium-size pot, melt the butter, ghee or olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and leeks and cook until tender, 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute or two. Add the chopped asparagus stalks, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring once or twice, for about 2 minutes. Add the reserved broth and simmer until the asparagus are very tender, 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

With a hand-immersion blender or in food processor or blender, puree the soup until very smooth. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Stir in the cream or coconut milk. Cook until the soup is warmed through, about 3 minutes.

Ladle the soup into bowls or cups and garnish with a few of the tips. Serve immediately.

 

Enjoy!

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