Category Archives: snack

Coconut Chai Cake

Last month I was putting together an Indian-inspired dinner with friends and wanted to make a little somethin’-somethin’ sweet for dessert.  I wanted it it to compliment the spices I was using, and be quick and easy.  A few days earlier, The Fat Free Vegan had posted the perfect little cake recipe! She makes it for breakfast, and indeed it would be heavenly for first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee, but I also found it to be the perfect not-too-sweet bite after an evening meal.   Whips up and bakes in a flash; so moist it needs no frosting.  The only problem is waiting to eat it until guests arrive….

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Gather up your ingredients!

ingredients

  • 1 cup strong chai tea ( I used a coconut chai–perfect!)
  • 1/3 cup uncooked quick (not instant) oatmeal
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger (use more for a spicier cake)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut, 2 TBSP reserved  ( I used an unsweetened, large-flaked coconut I usually have on hand for making granola.)

Preheat oven to 350F, spray-oil an 8×8 pan, and make a strong cup of tea by steeping 2 bags in 1 cup of boiling water until it is cool/room temperature.

tea

Combine the dry ingredients (oats, flours, soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and sugar) in a medium bowl.

mix dry

Add the wet ingredients (tea, applesauce, vinegar, almond and vanilla extracts and all but 2 TBSP of the coconut.  Mix until just combined.

add wet

Pour into the prepared pan and top with reserved coconut.

pour into prepared pan

Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a pick comes out clean when inserted near the center, and the coconut topping is nicely toasted.  The scent that will envelop your kitchen is just heavenly! Good luck not touching the cake until your guests show up!

bake

Cut into pieces and enjoy warm or at room temperature.

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So easy, so yummy.  I might just need to bake another one for tomorrow’s breakfast….

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Filed under breakfast, comfort food, dairy-free, dessert, recipe, snack, vegan

Chocolate Marbled Banana Bread

Nearly everyone I know loves banana bread.  And chocolate.  And who isn’t fascinated by a marbled baked-good?!  When I saw this recipe on the PPK (Post-Punk Kitchen) the other day, I actually started wishing my bananas would hurry up and get over-ripe.  Which for me, is when the spots start to appear.   My beautiful slightly green bananas granted my wish and soon became spotted and then became delicious work of (vegan!) baked art.

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Grab those over-ripe bananas and a few other ingredients and create your own edible art.

ingredients

  • 1 cup mashed very ripe banana  (about 3 bananas)
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 TBSP canola oil
  • 1/3 cup almond milk (or your preferred non-dairy milk)
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 TBSP boiling water, divided

Preheat oven to 350F and lightly oil a 4×8″ loaf pan.  Put water on to boil.

Peel and mash bananas.  Measure before placing in a mixing bowl.

mash and measure the bananas

Add milk, sugar, oil and vanilla.  Mix until well combined.

add vanilla sugar milk oil

Add flour, salt and baking soda.  Mix until JUST combined.  If you still see a bi of flour, that’s ok.  Be careful to not over-mix.

add dry

mix til moistened

Measure and scoop out one cup of this mixture and transfer to another bowl.

remove 1 cup

In a small bowl, dissolve the cocoa powder with 3 TBSP boiling water.  Stir vigorously with a fork until smooth.

dissolve cocoa

Add the dissolved chocolate into the one cup of banana mixture.  Mix until completely smooth and combined.

add cocoa to 1 cup mix

Add 3 TBSP boiling water to the original plain banana mixture.  Mix until mostly smooth.

add boiling water to plain mix

Scoop alternate “1/2 cupfuls” into the oiled loaf pan.  I used a large “spoonula” to mix each batter and just used those to scoop out each mixture.  Have fun and place the two different batters into the pan in a random fashion.  The randomness will help you make the groovy swirls!  Here are my layers as they built up.

layer 1

layer 2

layer 3

layer 4

layer 5

When all the batter is in the pan, use a butter knife or wooden skewer to swirl through the batter in a circular motion for about 10 seconds.

swirl

Bake 55-65 minutes.  Check for doneness by inserting a skewer or butter knife into the center of the loaf.  It’s done when a few moist crumbs cling to the skewer.  Cool in the pan on a rack until you can handle the pan without an oven mitt, then turn the loaf out to cool completely.

bake and cool

Now comes the oooooooo-ahhhhhhh part:  Cut 1/2 inch slices and watch the ever-changing, swirled banana bread art present itself.

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No need for a spread–moist and flavorful on its own.  Freshly cooled, this bread has a nicely crisp crust; after storage, it softens.

I went to the store today looking for bananas past their prime.  Alas, none to be had.  I bought the least ripe ones which are now in a paper bag on the counter.  Can’t wait to make another one of these beautiful and yummy breads!  I highly recommend you make one for yourself and keep the recipe in mind for the next potluck or food-gifting occasion.  Perfect!

The PPK is my go-to site for fabulous vegan recipes.  The recipes are easy to follow and written with just the perfect amount of humorous snark.  Isa Chandra is not your Mom’s Betty Crocker.  Click on over and see for yourself!

 

 

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Filed under breakfast, comfort food, dairy-free, dessert, food gifts, Potluck, recipe, snack, vegan, Vegetarian

Easiest Beer Bread Ever!

It seems like every time I decide soup for dinner is a great plan, it’s too late to start a yeast bread to go with it.  Wah.  Fresh bread is so yummy with soup!  What to do, what to do?!  If you have an hour, beer bread is what you do!  It’s quick!  It’s easy!  It’s very much like “real” bread!  Yum!

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I Googled this recipe, which says it’s the most popular beer bread recipe on the internet.  It IS super easy and super fast.  Now that I’ve made it, I do have one recommendation not mentioned in the original recipe–the beer you use will have a huge impact on the flavor.  I used an IPA–very hoppy–which gave that same hoppy flavor to the bread.  For my taste, I’ll be using a more mellow beer next time.  That being said, this recipe is a keeper!

ingredients

  • 3 cups flour (sifted)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (12 ounce) can beer
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (or margarine)

Preheat oven to 375F and oil a standard loaf pan.

Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, sugar) together–very important to keep the bread light and fluffy.  Use a flour sifter or a fine mesh strainer.

sift dry ingredients

Add the beer.  Stir until just combined.

add beer

mix until moistened

Pour into the prepared loaf pan.

pour into loaf pan

Pour melted butter over the top.  (Sounded weird to me, but resulted in a wonderful crunchy, buttery crust!)

pour melted butter

Bake for 1 hour, and cool on a rack until you can handle the pan, then remove from the pan and cool for a total of 15 minutes.  This will make slicing a LOT easier!

let cool on rack

remove from pan

Slice, spread on your favorite buttery spread and enjoy!

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I was making potato soup when I realized I needed a bread to go with it.  Yummy combo!

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Now that I’ve made this once, I’m thinking of all the other things that would be yummy to include–like a whole wheat, oats and stout combo, or a light wheat ale and jalapeno combo, or roasted garlic or ????!!!!  Oh yeah, lots of ways to make this easy, yummy bread a bit more “gourmet!”  Have fun with your favorite combos!

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Filed under appetizer, comfort food, lunch, Potluck, recipe, side dish, snack, vegan, Vegetarian

Roasted Garlic and Walnut Chickpea Pate

Welcome to the party, elegant and tasty spread.  I’m lovin’ your roasty garlic flavor and your silky texture.  Won’t you join me over here by the crackers?

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This pate is hummus in black tie.  Approachable and friendly black tie.  Spread on a cracker, it’s right at home at a cocktail party or the party for the big game.  I found the recipe at the Amuse Your Bouche blog via the Finding Vegan Facebook page.  The original recipe makes a tiny amount, so I adjusted ingredients to make a whole can of chickpeas-worth, and reduced the amount of oil.  This larger amount still doesn’t last long-it’s that kind of yummy!  Here’s what you need to start your relationship with your new favorite party date.

ingredients

  • 1 entire head of garlic, roasted  (12-14 cloves, or more if you like garlic like we do!)
  • 1 1/4 cups walnuts, plus a bit more to garnish
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained but NOT rinsed
  • 4 TBSP lemon juice
  • 4 TBSP olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

First, roast the garlic.  Heat oven to 375F.

Cut the top off a head of garlic, place it in a pan, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

cut top off garlic

place in pan with oil salt and pepper

(Save the little tops for another garlic recipe.)

save little tops

Roast for 25 minutes and remove to cool.  When cool enough to handle, pop the cloves out of their skins.

pop cloves out

Place roasted garlic cloves into a food processor along with the walnuts.

garlic and walnuts in processor

Process until you achieve a coarse crumb.

process to crumbs

Add the drained chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.

add chickpeas salt pepper lemon and oil

Process until smooth.  Taste, and adjust seasoning if needed.

puree til smooth

Place in a pretty bowl, garnish with chopped walnuts, set out some crackers and prepare to be enchanted.  Seduced, really.

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There is a LOT of garlic in this recipe, and it is definitely the top-note of the flavor.  However, since it’s roasted, it’s a mellow and earthy garlic.  Definitely yummy!

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Filed under appetizer, dairy-free, Holiday foods, recipe, snack, vegan, Vegetarian

Celine’s Aebelskivers

Have I mentioned how great it is to have been brought up Norwegian?  My son, who is even less Norwegian than I am, is as pleased as I’ve always been to enjoy the special yumminess found in Scandinavian holiday treats.   Mom started it all.  She adored all things Scandinavian, baking all kinds of traditional holiday recipes, including these light little pillows of yumminess from Denmark, aebelskivers. yum1

Here it is almost Christmas, and I have piles of cookies and breads and candies and nuts to keep me happy for months, but still I felt compelled yesterday to add to my dragon’s horde and make aebelskivers.  Especially after reading that they freeze well and then reheat beautifully in the oven for a traditional Scandinavian Christmas breakfast.  Aebelskivers originally had bits of apple or applesauce inside–aebel means apple.  They are also made plain, like my Mom’s recipe, and served with applesauce or a berry jam on the side.  I like lingonberry–a Scandinavian cranberry-esque fruit.  Find lingonberry in your natural foods market or at IKEA.  Yup, IKEA.  You can also buy pre-made mixes from places like Williams Sonoma.  (Mom bough these for me.)  They are yummy, but are pretty much the same in prep time as scratch-made.

mixes

The manufacturer of my glass-top range says cast iron is a no-no because it could damage the glass.  I pouted for a year over this because I knew it meant no aebelskivers for me.  Traditional aebelskiver pans like mine are cast iron.

traditional aebelskiver pan

William Sonoma has a variety of electric and stove-top pans and accessories.  I wasn’t quite ready to spend sixty bucks plus shipping for a treat I generally make only once a year.  I thought about it and thought about it and thought about it and nearly ordered one when…

Cake pops became all the rage and electric cake pop makers began “popping” up all over.  They make little spherical cakes, and aebelskivers are spherical.  Could a cake pop maker be used for aebelskivers?!  Between a coupon and a sale at Bed Bath and Beyond, I procured a Babycakes cake pop maker for about $15 and set out to find out.  YES!  The abelskivers are smaller, but just as yummy.  Good news for those of you already in possession of a cake pop maker!

All you need are a cake pop maker and a few ingredients:

ingredients

  • 2 cups buttermilk or 2 cups milk plus 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cardamom, optional
  • powdered sugar
  • applesauce or berry jam to serve

If you don’t keep buttermilk around, measure any milk (I used regular, unsweetened almond milk) and add the lemon juice to it and allow it to “curdle” a bit.

add lemon juice to milk

Meanwhile, separate the eggs, making sure the whites get into a clean glass or metal bowl for better whipping results.

separate eggs

Lightly beat the yolks and add the milk, sugar and salt.

egg yolks milk sugar and salt

Then add the flour, soda, and baking powder.  Add cardamom here if using.  I completely forgot the cardamom until I was nearly done baking the aebelskivers!  Sorry Mom!  I’ll put it in next time for sure!

add flour and soda and baking powder

Using an electric mixer, whip egg whites to a stiff peak.

beat whites to stiff peak

Gently fold in the whites in two batches.  This takes a while–be patient to maintain as much fluff as possible.  This fluff is what will make your aebelskivers so pillowy.

add half of whites

fold in second half

Spray the cake pop maker lightly with spray oil and wipe away any excess to avoid smoking up your kitchen as the appliance heats.  Yup.  Know this from experience.  Heat the cake pop maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions and then fill the wells brim-full with batter.  My cake pop maker has 1 tablespoon-sized wells which are conveniently filled with a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop!

fill wells full

Fill as quickly as you can and close the lid to bake.  I baked mine for 6 minutes.  Your cake pop maker may take more or less time.  If you use a regular aebelskiver pan, wait for the tops to get bubbly–like you do for pancakes–and then gently turn them over in their wells using a wooden skewer or knitting needle or little tools made specifically for this purpose.  If you’re feeling adventurous, fill the wells only 2/3 full and add a wee bit of applesauce or jelly before adding the last 1/3 of batter per well.  I use a 1/4 tsp measure to add jam for my tiny cake pop-sized aebelskivers.

close lid and bake

Use the little prong thingie that comes with a cake pop maker or a thin wooden skewer or knitting needle to remove your perfect little aebelskivers.  Place them on a plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Use a small sieve for this or purchase a powdered sugar shaker from a kitchen store–worth the money!  (Look around, I know mine wasn’t as pricey as the one linked to.)  They have lids, so powdered sugar can be stored in it, making it ready to use whenever you need it.

sprinkle with powdered sugar

This recipe makes 6 or 7 dozen one-inch aebelskivers.

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While a batch is baking, get out a pretty plate and some lingonberry jam and do a taste test.   Dip each pillowy bite in the jam and enjoy.

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Keep adding to your mountain of aebelskiver wonderfulness, sugaring each layer.

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If you plan to freeze your aebelskivers for later, let them cool completely before placing in a freezer bag.  The aebelskivers will freeze separately from one another, allowing you to take out only how many you want. Then when you’re ready, bake them in a 350F oven for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.  Sugar them again and serve with applesauce or jam.  Oh, yum-yum-yummy!

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Christmas traditions always make the season cozy for me.  I find myself reaching back into the past to bring some of that childhood Christmas magic to my adulthood.  This year, I found a wee, tiny tinsel tree that reminded me of the big one my grandparents had.  I selected ornaments that are reminiscent of the time and lit it with battery-powered color-changing LED lights.  The sun made it sparkle yesterday.

tinsel tree1

tinsel tree 2

Back in the day, these tinsel trees were lit with a color wheel aimed at the tree.  The wheel turned, bathing the tree in a progression of colors–red, blue, yellow, and green–that were at their most wonderful at the juncture between colors.  It was like waves of color moving across and reflected by the tinsel.  Spectacular, and pure Christmas magic.  I hope your holidays bring you some of the magic from your childhood.  Merry Christmas!

 

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Filed under breakfast, comfort food, dessert, Food memories, Holiday foods, Norwegian Foods, recipe, snack

British-Style Scones (Vegan!)

It’s hard being vegan in London, but not too hard to be vegetarian.  Case in point, Tea with scones, clotted cream and strawberry preserves.  So civilized, so yummy.  British scones are more like what we Americans would call biscuits, but sweeter and moister.  I knew I need to find a recipe and make them when we got home.  AND I knew I could make them vegan.  Brilliant!

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I decided a recipe from Great Britain would come the closest to those we enjoyed at Fortnum and Mason.  (How pretty is this tea setting at Fortnum and Mason?!) With the help of a conversion link and googling how to make self-raising flour and buttermilk, a proper tea was in the making!

Fortnum and Mason tea

For the scones (makes 5-6 scones):

ingredients for scones

  • 2 cups self-raising flour, preferably organic, or 2 cups all purpose flour plus 2 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 TBSP slightly salted butter, chilled, cut in small pieces (or vegan stick margarine)
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or 1/2 cup milk (almond or soy) with 1 1/2 tsp of lemon juice stirred in
  • 4 tbsp almond or soy milk
  • a little extra flour for dusting
  • strawberry jam and clotted cream, to serve

for the vegan clotted cream:

ingredients clotted cream

  • 4 Tbsp vegan margarine spread
  • 4 Tbsp vegan cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp powdered sugar

(How are you liking the tea towel I’m using as the background?  It’s a “drawing” of the actual Fortnum and Mason store in London!)

Preheat the oven to 400F and lightly butter a baking sheet or line it with a silpat or parchment paper.

Measure the flour, baking powder and all of the salt into a mixing bowl.

dry ingredients

Add the butter and cut into the flour rubbing with your fingers or a pastry cutter until you have a consistency of a course grain or small peas.  Try to not overwork.  The tiny pieces of butter will help your scones be light and flaky.

add butter

Add the sugar and mix in.

cut in butter add sugar

Add the buttermilk (milk and lemon juice) and milk.  Stir until just combined.

add wet

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead just until smooth.  Don’t overwork.

tip out onto floured surface

knead til smooth

Pat to a circle about 2/3-3/4 of an inch thick and cut scones using a biscuit cutter or water glass dipped in flour.  Cut straight down without twisting.  The size of your cutter will determine how many scones you end up with.  I used a water glass with a 3″ diameter and got 5 scones; the last one being formed by patting rather than cutting.  Rework the dough as needed to cut more scones, forming the last one with your hands.

pat to a round

Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet and bake 15-25 minutes, until risen and golden.  I made a double batch.  🙂

cut scones

double batch

While scones bake, mix up the clotted cream.  Place the margarine, cream cheese and powdered sugar in a bowl and mix until well combined.

all in the bowl

Place into a container with a lid and refrigerate.  (I made a double batch.)

place in jars

Steep your favorite tea, find some pretty china and split a warm, freshly-baked scone.  Spread on some clotted cream and preserves of your choice (I had peach butter in the fridge.).  Sip, nibble, relax, enjoy.

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tea time

Enjoy these images in and around London and points nearby with your tea, and be there!

a lion at harlaxton

harlaxton manor

mind the gap

the tube

phone box

platform 9 and three quarters

stonehenge

the churchill arms

Lovely.

 

 

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Filed under breakfast, comfort food, dairy-free, Food memories, lunch, recipe, snack, travel, Vegetarian

Lizette’s Dilly Beans

Late August and September are when my garden is most productive.  Tomatoes, squash, peppers, and LOTS of beans.  They need picked twice a week!  Definitely more than I can keep up with, so what to do?  Make my friend Lizette’s Hot and Spicy Dilly Beans, of course! Just as easy as regular cucumber-based dill pickles, but even more yummy.  

let cool and label

Head out to the garden or farmer’s market and grab some dill, garlic, jalapenos and green beans.  Mine are purple, an heirloom variety called Royal Burgundy.  They turn green when cooked, unfortunately.  Although, these pickles retained some of the purple color in the brine!  I’ll give you the brine proportions (make more as needed) and what you’ll put into each jar.  It’s easy to adjust as you go.

ingredients

  • 5 cups vinegar
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt
  • peeled whole garlic cloves
  • fresh heads of dill
  • jalapeno peppers
  • fresh green beans

Sterilize jars, rings and lids; make your best guess at how many you’ll need.  I try to over-estimate so I don’t have to stop mid-process to get more ready.

Get your brine going (vinegar, water and pickling salt) at the same time you start water boiling in your canner.

prepare brine and canner

Wash and snap the stem ends off the beans.

snap beans

Peel garlic and wash and cut jalapenos in half length-wise.  Remove seeds and veins if you want your beans less spicy.

cut jalapenos

Place a head of dill and a clove or two of garlic at the bottom of the jar.

dill and garlic on jar

Fill the rest with beans, and then squeeze in a jalapeno half.

beans and jalapeno in jar

Add boiling brine, leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Use a knife to help any air bubbles come to the surface, and add more brine to keep the 1/2 inch head space if needed.

add brine

Wipe the rim and adjust the lid.  Process 10 minutes in boiling water. 

process

Remove jars and let cool.  Label each jar with the date.   If any refused to seal, re-water bath them, or keep them in the fridge.

let cool and label

Let your Dilly Beans sit for a day or two for full crispy-spicy-dilly yumminess.  Save a jar for midwinter and enjoy the taste of summer.  Perfect for your holiday relish trays!

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Filed under Canning and preserving, food gifts, Garden produce, Holiday foods, recipe, side dish, snack, Vegetarian