Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hippie Loaf and the Best Potatoes Ever

Dinner last night is a favorite in our house and I have made this combination several times before. The potato dish is one of the most delicious potato recipes I have ever had the pleasure of eating. The recipe is the Maple Mustard Potatoes & Green Beans from Vegan with a Vengeance.  If you have not tried this recipe before, you are seriously missing out! The dish is very easy to make although it does have a long baking time, so plan ahead. These are worth the wait though. The long baking time produces potatoes that are amazingly creamy and  saturated with maple mustard flavor. Pure. Heaven.  It would also make a fantastic Thanksgiving side dish. The recipe is perfect as is, but I cut the oil in half by replacing one tablespoon of the oil with water. I promise you can’t tell the difference.
I also made the Hippie Loaf from The Happy Herbivore Cookbook. This is also a very easy recipe to throw together, although my way is a little more complicated because I prefer to pre-saute the veggies. And I always add ketchup on the top of veggies loaves. I love how it gets so beautifully dark and glossy and caramelized in the oven.

Hippie Loaf
Adapted from The Happy Herbivore Cookbook
½ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1 cup water
1 small onion, diced small
2 stalks celery, diced small
1 small red bell pepper, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup white mushrooms, chopped
2 cups (or 15 oz can) of black beans
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp each parsley and thyme
3 tbls whole wheat flour
3 tbls ketchup
2 tbls tamari or soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup ketchup, for the top
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Combine quinoa and water in a small covered pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until tender.
In a small skillet, sauté the onion, celery, and bell pepper in a small amount of oil for about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and sauté for another 5 minutes, or until the veggies are softened.
In a large bowl, mash black beans until no whole beans remain. Add the cooked quinoa, veggies, and remaining ingredients (except for the 1/3 cup ketchup) and mix well.
Pack into a greased 9 x 4 inch loaf pan. Gently spread the ketchup on top until evenly coated.
Bake uncovered for 50 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes to allow the loaf to firm up.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Baked Eggplant Burgers

Tonight I made the Baked Eggplant Burgers from The Tolerant Vegan. When I saw these burgers were made with hummus as a binder I was intrigued. I mean, how genius is that? But these burgers aren’t just genius. They are incredibly delicious. And they make your house smell like a Greek restaurant while they’re baking. Thank you Nikki for the amazing recipe!
I served these in Ezekiel brand pitas with hummus and a “salad” of diced tomatoes, cucumber, and red onions.
Easy tip: Make your own hummus for these! You can make it in the food processor before you start the burgers. Then just scrape out the hummus and proceed with the recipe. No need to clean your machine in between!

There was also a salad! 

 This salad has green and red leaf lettuce, sliced red onions, bulgur, chickpeas, and diced apple. It is one of my favorite combinations. If you have never tried adding a grain to a green salad, I recommend it. It adds a nice chewy texture. I like a honey mustard style dressing best with this.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My First Post! And Cookies!

I am very excited to be beginning a new adventure in food blogging! For many years I have been enjoying reading the many wonderful vegetarian/vegan food blogs and I am humbled to be joining such an amazing community. I spend so much of my time thinking about, dreaming about, and preparing vegan food that I figured I might as well start my own food journal.
Anyhoo! Enough about me! This blog is about the food.
I can’t think of a better way to start than with a cookie recipe. A cookie made with pistachio butter. How often do you see that? I think pistachios are sadly underappreciated and neglected in baking.  That’s why I created these Pistachio Butter Cookies with White Chocolate Chips.

Pistachio Butter Cookies with White Chocolate Chips
Makes about two dozen cookies
8 oz pistachios (roasted, unsalted)
3 tbls canola oil
½ cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup white sugar
¼ cup + 3 tbls soy milk
1 tbls canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Few drops almond extract (optional)
1 ½ cups white flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
Large handful white chocolate chips
Handful pistachios, chopped (optional)

Blend 8 oz pistachios and 3 tbls canola oil in a food processor until completely smooth. This may take several minutes. The butter will be thin (and honestly it will look pretty darn unappetizing).
In a large bowl, mix pistachio butter, sugars, soy milk, 1 tbls oil, and extracts with a fork until well combined.
Add in dry ingredients, white chocolate chips, and nuts (optional) and mix well.
Drop about two tablespoons of batter per cookie onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten each cookie slightly with your fingers or the bottom of a glass.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool for about five minutes and then move to cooling rack.

Recipe notes:
You could also make these with prepared pistachio butter but it is difficult to find and usually very expensive. If you do, you will probably need to add more oil along with the sugar mixture.
I also made these cookies with semi-sweet chocolate chips. My testers (otherwise known as friends) preferred the white chocolate chips, as did I. Of course you can try it out for yourself.
I did not make these with the chopped pistachios but I think they would be a great addition. The pistachio flavor is very subtle in these cookies and is difficult to identify. I think the chopped nuts would bring out the pistachio flavor better.