Thursday, July 8, 2010

Part Deux!

Here is the second recipe I talked about in my previous Blog....
This one requires special ingredients that can be found at Whole Foods or if you are in Cleveand, Natures Bin(I love that store).
This recipe comes from the April/May issue of Living Without. It's a magazine dedicated to people with allergies and food sensitivities. So the following recipe will be gluten free, dairy free and egg free....and healthier then all hell. One word about the special ingredients-once you purchase the items, you will have them in your kitchen so the only cost you incur after that will be to replace them once you run out.

Coconut Choclate Chip Blondies

1/2 cup soft, pitted dates
Warm water to cover dates
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup gluten free All-Purpose Flour ( I recommend Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthan gum (completely neccassary for gluten free baking)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup coconut oil or palm shortening (palm shortening is just as good and alittle cheaper)
1/4 cup +2 TBLS Agave or honey
1/4 cup Ener-G egg replacer whisked until gooey with 1/4 cup of hot water
1tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet choclate chips(Whole foods has Vegan Choc chips)

Places dates in a bowl with the warm water just covering them. let them stand for 1-4 hours. Scoop the dates out and put to the side.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper OR lightly grease with some coconut oil or palm shortening the bottom and sides of the pan.

Lightly spoon flours in anto a measuring cup and level with a knife. Place flours, baking soda, xanthan gum,and salt into a bowl and mix to combine. Set aside.

Combine the soaked dates, Coconut oil, Ener-g egg replacer that has been wisked with the hot water, Agave, and the vanilla in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Mix until smmoth. Add dry ingredients and blend only enough to combine. Scrape batter into a bowl and add your chocolate chips. The batter will be stiff like cookie dough.

Spread the batter into the 8x8 pan and bake for 24-30 minutes. Check with a toothpick for should come out clean or with just a few crumbs on it. Allow Blondies to cool for a few minutes before devouring them.

By the way, the nice thing about  baking without eggs is not having to worry about that nasty samonella while you taste the batter!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I'm Baaack!

After a little hiatus, I am back. Had a wonderful time when my sisters came separatly for visits! So the following recipes were requested by Cookie who loved both of them. A word about the recipes....The first one, you can get the ingredients in any grocery store. The second one which is Vegan AND Gluten Free will require you to make a trip to Whole Foods and it can be a bit pricey, but worth it.

                                             Chris' Vegan Encheela-las

Brown Rice
Ground Soy Crumbles(Yves, etc.)
1 pkg of Taco seasoning (Lowerys, for ex.)
1 Can red or green Enchilda Sauce(Hatch has a really good brand)
Vegan Cheddar cheese shreds(check out the rice cheese, though you may have to go to Whole Foods)
Soft Taco wraps
Vegan Sour Cream (optional)

Cook the brown rice according to directions ( 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water)
Mix 2 tsp of the taco seasoniong into the Soy crumbles.( You may be able to find Mexican flavored Soy Crumbles, in which case don't bother picking up the Taco seasoning.)
Mix the cooked rice with the Soy Crumbles.
Get out your 9x13 Pan
Take a Soft taco shell(or Burrito shell if you like to make it bigger) and fill it with the mixture.Wrap it and place seam side down in the pan. Continue until your pan is full or you are out of shells. Place them close togther(they should be touching).
Pour the can on Enchilda Sauce over the enchilads, covering them. Use the whole can.
Sprinkle cheese over the top(use as much as you like)
Cover pan with aluminum foil and place in a preheated oven at 350 degress for about 30 min.

Serve with sour cream(Vegan of course) and enjoy!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Best Damn Queso Dip You'll Ever Eat (minus the queso)

I am back with a new recipe! I hope those of you that have been following me(all four of you) tried the OMG Pie. If you haven't yet, I suggest you do. If you don't have a graham cracker pie crust, you can just as easily refridgerate it and eat it as a chocolate moose. Top with some berries and you will have an elegant dessert that was easy to make and a healthier alternative.

Now for my new recipe. This is truly a fabulous dip that is so healthy for you that it should taste like crap, but it doesn't. Make this for your next soiree and your lactose intolerant friends will love you for it. Actually everyone will love you for it. The last thing anyone wants is a lactose intolerant party goer, getting all liqoured up and digging into a BIG BOWL of Queso Dip. ewwww.

In this recipe I introduce 2 new ingrediants, Tahini and Nutritional Yeast Flakes.

Tahini-it is a paste made from sesame seeds. Its used in Middle Eastern cooking, but no worries. You should be able to find it in your local grocery store.

Nutrional Yeast Flakes - A non-active yeast that is an excellent source of protein that is rich in amino acids and vitamins, especially B complex. It comes in flakes and you will find it most definitely at Whole Foods(the "MAN" of healthy food stores-shop there only if you can not find it anywhere else!). It will have a "Cheesy" smell. DO NOT mistake it for Brewers yeast, which is completey different in makeup and flavor.

With that let's get started and go get your food processor!

B.D.Q.D.Y.E.E.(minus the queso)

1 can (15 oz.) white beans   (Cannelli are good. Garbanzo beans will give it a "hummus"taste)
1/2 cup roasted red peppers (the jar peppers are just as good, no need to make your own)
7 Tablespoons Nutrional Yeast Flakes
3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice ( 1 1/2 lemons will give you what you need)
3 tablespoons of Tahini
1/2 teaspoon of prepared yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Salsa (mild or hot, it's up to you amigas!)

Combine all ingredients,except the Salsa, in the food processor with the S blade and process until completely smooth. One hint if you are new to your food processor...when all the ingridients are in, PULSE a couple times before you hit the ON button. After a minute or two of running, stop and scrape down the sides and hit ON again until the mixture is smooth. Tranfer to a container, stir in 1/4 cup of the Salsa and chill. Serve with chips or cut up vegetables. To be honest, when I make this for Quinn and I, we never chill goes straight from the food processor to our Dip bowl. Let me know if you have the same experience!

 In my words....Last Saturday I had an opportunity to attend a Film Festival that highlited the future of  food, Monsanto and GMOs. They showed several films, one which I had already seen...Food, Inc  I can't stress strongly enough that each of you should spend and hour of your time to watch this movie. But the movie is not what I wanted to talk about(it speaks for itself). What I really wanted to talk about is the audience. The audience for the day consisted  90%  of women. Women that had grey hair, or nearly grey hair. Women that the average age seemed to hover around 60. Women that no more looked like "aging Hippies" then you or I . And yet there they were, vocal and angry about the future of our food. Then I thought about Code Pink , again women heading into what should be the "Twightlite" of their lives, organizing and PROTESTING for peace.  If you can find it, watch the documentary on Sister Jane Kelly and how she took on the Catholic Church while helping the poor and needy in Society.
What they all have in common is Women speaking out. Speaking out for peace, speaking  out for justice and speaking out for the health and safety of our food. Women that should be happy just to put on their  Red Hats and join the other Red Hatted ladies for lunch. Isn't that what we are suppose to do when we turn 50?
Insted what I am seeing is a new movement, a movement by women that will not "go quietly into that good night". Women that are saying "Fuck you" to Red Hats, YaYa Clubs, AARP and being happy just to babysit the grandchildren. More then any other age group, male or female, these women are standing up and voicing their opinions and they will be heard! All of us are wise to follow their example...and the great part is that you don't have to be in your 50, 60, or 70's. You don't even have to be a woman for God's sake! Find a cause and speak up, the quality of our lives and the lives of our kids depend on it.

Monday, December 28, 2009

OMG! Pie

Well here we are...the first recipe. Admittedly, I know this first recipe can make or break me so with that in mind, I am starting with the simpliest yet most dee-lish  recipe I have. Everyone who tries it, loves it. The best part is that no one knows its VEGAN (yikes, there's that word again!). Its perfect if you are lactose intolerent, its perfect if you love chocolate. Its great if you hate tofu as this will be a great introduction to that most misunderstood block of white stuff. Tofu is not just for Hippies anymore!
 Let's talk Tofu before embarking on the best taste sensation you have had in your life(which is why I call it OMG! Pie). I will be using 2 distinctly different tofus in my recipes. In this recipe I use a tofu called Silken Tofu by Mori-Nu. Most grocery stores carry it and definitely any health food grocery store will carry it. Clevelanders can try Natures Bin or American Harvest-shop locally first!. It comes in Extra Firm, Firm or Soft. The Silken Tofu is used mostly in desserts or dips for its silky texture, hence the "Silken"name.
The other form of tofu is the tofu we are most familiar with - the block of soybean curd.We will use that in future recipes. "Yuk", you say? I think you will be eating those words along with your tofu!
Here is where I will preach. When you go to buy your tofu , please make sure it is non GMO. Take a minute to read about GMO foods. . Not only tofu, but as you will see by this site, many other foods that you may not be aware of. It is so important for you to become aware of the devastation caused by GMOs. Watch the video and right below are articles involving farmers. it will be worth your time. I once heard a quote from a cook at the Tassajara Zen Center, , "We don't cook the food, the food cooks us".  Think about it, what ever we cook that goes into us, really makes us who we are....another words, YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT! It just sounds better coming from a Zen Monk.

Ok, enough...on to the recipe! A heads up before you start...the chocolate chips I use are Vegan(no dairy) and can be purchased at Whole Foods for sure. I would call your local Health Food store to see if they carry them. I use a graham cracker pie crust from a company called Arrowhead Mills. You can make your own using vegan butter by EarthBalance and just substituting it in any graham cracker recipe you have. I'm just lazy. Also this recipe calles for maple syrup. Maple Syrup is expensive, I know, but do not use the fake stuff! There is an alternative called Agave Syrup. It is from the Agave plant and can be used in place of maple syrup for most of the recipes I use. Actually, I use it more than I do the maple syrup.
One last item, you will need a food processor. If you have one, get it out, if you don't have one, buy one...even an inexpensive food processor is better then none at all. keep it out on the counter and use it. Once you get the hang of it, your food processor will be your new best friend.

                                         ~ OMG PIE~

1 (12-oz.) pkg. Vegan Chocolate chips

2 (12 oz.) pkg firm or extra firm Silken Tofu, slightly drained

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/3 cup of maple syrup or Agave

1 tsp. of vanilla extract                                          
1) Place chocolate chips a double boiler over medium heat and stir until melted. You can also place them in a glass bowl and microwave for a minute or two. Check every 30 seconds if you are microwaving them. Let them cool.

2)Place your SILKEN tofu in the food processor with the S blade and process until completely smooth. Add the melted chocolate chips, cocoa powder, maple syrup or Agave, and vanilla extract. Process until thoroughly blended. You should not see any white bits of the tofu.

3) Pour the mixture into the prepared graham cracker crust and refridgerate for at least an hour.

4) Lick the food processor bowl. See, I told you it was good. Actually the taste gets better after it been refridgerated for an hour. Tofu-who knew?!

 That's the great thing about cooking without eggs and dairy NO SAMONELLA!

When you are ready to serve it, you can ad berries to the top, nuts, whatever you like, or it is perfect just as it is. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

This recipe was discovered in the "Idiots Guide to Vegan Cooking" by Beverly Lynn Bennett and Ray Sammartano. Thanks Bev and Ray!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Vegan is not a Dirty Word

If you want to bring a conversation to a screeching halt, just mention that you are a Vegan. I don't know what it is about that word, but as soon as I tell someone that I am a Vegan, they take two steps backward in horror. They assume that I am any or all of the following...a nut, a fanatical lunatic, tree hugger, left wing fruitcake. Now I may actually be some of those things, but that is not what this Blog is going to be about. I am not here to convert any of you. If you want a reason to convert, I highly suggest you read the "Skinny Bitch" book, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. The language is a bit rough if you are over the age of forty(like I am), but it will open up your eyes.

 In the year that I have been a Vegan, the most common question I get asked is, "What the heck do you eat?"  I know that when you take away dairy, eggs and meat, there doesn't seem like much is left. Let me tell you, the days of eating just brown rice are gone! In the past year, with the help of some excellent Vegan cookbooks, I can (and you can, too) make amazing dishes that even die hard carnivors will eat.

Nothing pisses me off more then spending money on ingredients, taking the time to make something, only to have it taste like crap! I'm sure you feel the same way. My job is to test, taste and recommend to you recipes that I know you will love. Who knows, maybe this time next year, you too will be a Vegan.

I will be posting my first recipe for the New Year right after Christmas, so stay tuned!

Merry Christmas from the Caffrey Kitchen!