Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Whole Wheat Pasta Topped With Stewed Roma Tomatoes & Cauliflower-Green Pea "Cheese" Sauce

This rich creamy "cheese" sauce over juicy ripened Roma tomatoes is bursting with delicious flavor.
A really good friend of mine gave me a ziploc bag full of little plump organic Roma tomatoes insisting that they needed to be eaten tonight.
It called out for a pasta and this sexy, addictive sauce that leaves little to the vegan imagination.

 Stewed Tomatoes

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
5 diced Roma tomatoes
sprinkles of salt and pepper

Cauliflower- Green Pea "Cheese" Sauce

1/2 cup cooked cauliflower (I used frozen)
1/4 cup cooked green peas (frozen also)
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 generous tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

For the sauce, after cooking vegetables, simply puree all the ingredients together in a blender or food processor and it's all ready to go for pasta or anything desired to be topped it with.

Slice tomatoes and add them to a heated skillet of balsamic vinegar. Stir and cover.
Minutes later, nearly dehydrated beautifully in their own juices, place tomatoes over cooked pasta. FYI: I included Brussels sprouts in my dinner plans. :)
The cauliflower-green pea "cheese" sauce goes on top, smooth, creamy, & all so luxurious. Also went sprinkle happy with the Italian seasonings blend of oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary, & marjoram.
I was at a loss of words over the richness.
So freaking fantastic.
With fork blending it all together and mouth watering at fragrant aroma, there is a surge of different flavors in every bite- from sweet tomato chunks to a smooth like silk "cheesiness" that fittingly layers atop of grainy, fulfilling pasta and yummy Brussels sprouts.
Also, the sauce tastes quite delicious sans green peas if you're not a fan. In fact had it over Brussels sprouts alone the other night and nearly died. It is so amazing how decadent it is without all the fat of a normal cheese sauce.
I seriously continue to be enthralled by the remarkable power of nutritional yeast.
Never fails to astound me.

Rawtella & Cherry Preserves: The Upscale PB & J

The best "peanut butter & jelly" sandwich ever!
Nutella was one major addiction of mine last year.
From slices of bread, apple slices, bananas, or plainly out of the jar, that $3.59 jar of chocolaty hazelnut bliss had me over the moon at every spoonful.
But the first ingredients are sugar and palm oil.
With this recipe, it's all hazelnuts and cocoa with natural sweeteners that vanilla almond milk and maple syrup provide. So it's deliciously pure tasting Rawtella without the added unnecessary ingredients.
As for the cherry preserves, since there were a few left and I had the idea that it would pair well with the Rawtella, setting up the perfect date for two on a rendezvous of bread.

Rawtella (makes 8 ounces double for more)

1 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoon vanilla almond milk
2 tablespoon maple syrup
add a pinch of organic sugar if you need it sweeter

Cherry Preserves (makes 6 ounces double for more)

21 pitted black cherries
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoon arrowroot powder

Grind hazelnuts into powder in a blender.
Add in 1/4 cup cocoa powder.
Place mixture into a bowl, gradually adding almond milk & maple syrup.
Rich chocolaty heaven, ready to be eaten or canned.
In a medium heat skillet, mix cherries, sugar, & arrowroot powder together
Keep on stirring.
Around 5-7 minutes later, juicy burst cherries are ready for jarring. Do Not Sample or else there will be nothing in the jar!
6 ounces of delicious preserves set in the fridge overnight and eaten with Rawtella the next day!

This delectably sweet "dessert" sandwich was so awesome with a cold glass of almond milk on a hot summer day that called out for picnic lunch. With plump juicy cherries and chocolaty hazelnut madness competing for dominance on their respective sides of the bread, I enjoyed devouring every last bite of light, addictive meal.
Seriously- there's nothing better than homemade Rawtella and cherry preserves. Nothing!
Hmmm, sure would make for a nice future "jelly" doughnut filling.....

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Vegan Green Pea & Spinach Not So Pesto Sauce, Portabella Mushroom, & Chive On Buckwheat Flour Crust Pizza

Garlic infused buckwheat flour crust is to die for.
With the leftover not so pesto sauce, I knew that a pizza was dying to be made.
What more can I say?

Buckwheat Flour Crust

1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 teaspoon Italian seasonings blend
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/2 cup buckwheat flour

Pizza Topping

2 cup green pea & spinach not so pesto sauce
2 cup sliced portabella mushrooms
3 tablespoon chives
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoon nutritional yeast

Combine water and sugar. Sprinkle active yeast atop and let sit three minutes. Add remainder of ingredients, but gradually mix in flour 1 cup at a time.
After dough has been rested for ten minutes, preheat oven to 420 (since using parchment paper the temperature has to be lower). Spread onto a prepared baking sheet. Be careful. This dough is quite vulnerable and prone to holes.
Spread an even thick layer of not so pesto as the first base.
Top with remainder of ingredients and bake for 20 minutes or longer.
Not much change, but here's how it looks after baking! The edges are browner.
Cannot get over how flavorful the crust is! Just amazing!
This is one helluva delicious pizza!
A big thumbs up to the "meaty" portabella mushrooms. They are so yuuuuummmmmmmmmy!!!! 
Thank goodness for parchment paper- the no fat superhero. Hahaha!
Normally, I grease the pan with olive oil, but alas, trying to cut that out. 
In biting into the succulent, tasty, mouthwatering heaven this homemade pizza provided, I didn't miss the olive oil drizzle or a considerable sprinkling of Daiya because the nutritional yeast and that creamy sauce made up for all the richness, but red onions would certainly kick it up a notch. 
The moist, chewy crust with a slight crunch is very fiber-y which meant I wasn't starving after engorging on two slices. It fills the body up. Also adding garlic & spices amplified a whole dimension of brilliance- a good idea for any fan of flavored crusts.
Very impressed with this one. :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Creamy Vegan Green Pea & Spinach Not So Pesto Sauce

A not so pesto sauce, eh?
With having no nuts on hand, but craving a lovely green sauce for my pasta dinner, I decided to utilize the had ingredients in the cabinets and freezer.
Thus, a simple, delicious recipe was born.

Creamy Vegan Green Pea & Spinach Not So Pesto Sauce Ingredients

1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen spinach
1/4 cup extra firm tofu
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasonings
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

After cooking peas & spinach, combine with all ingredients in a blender and puree.
Within minutes, a lovely, chunky sauce is created.
Perfect atop a pasta plate of angel hair & macaroni.
All stirred in.
Not just light in color, without the fatty weight of oils and nuts, it's a quite tasty green sauce on this interesting pasta blend. Together the nutritional yeast and tofu give it that creamy, "cheese" flavored richness that is reminiscent of the Parmesan or ricotta used in traditional pesto.
I'm excited about the leftovers-  planning to make Monday night pizza with it.
Wish me luck!
Oh and FYI: This evening, my special friend enjoyed the chocolate banana walnut muffins presented in that cute round basket for him. Love when homemade baked sweets puts an adorable smile on someone's face. Makes me feel so utterly happy. :D

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Chocolate Banana Walnut Muffins

A beautiful treat made especially for a friend.
"If I could make you anything special, what would you like?" I asked a very good friend of mine- the one with the July 11th birthday would revealed last visit that he doesn't really eat blueberries. *sobs*
"I like bananas and walnuts," he replied. "Can you do a banana walnut bread or muffin?"
Since I replied a solid "yes" to his question, not even sure if I actually could whip up such a thing, knew I had to make this into an extra scrumptious dessert catered to his liking.
He's not one for sugary overload (like me!) so I kept this recipe light and simple.

Chocolate Banana Walnut Muffins Ingredients

1 1/2 cups flour (used buckwheat)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 ripened bananas
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup crushed walnuts

Blend all dry ingredients together & a separate bowl combine mashed bananas, apple sauce, & vanilla.
Combine wet to the dry & then add vinegar & water.
Last but certainly not least- walnuts!
Fill up baking cups with awesomeness.
20-23 minutes later- voila- chocolate banana walnut muffins! Don't you just love these vintage inspired polka dot baking cups? Got them from Michael's for $2!
Topped one with blueberries & a lucky frozen strawberry.
It was over much too quickly.
Very, very delicious!!!
Moist, delicately balanced, and slightly crunchy from walnut bits, this light chocolate flavored banana muffin is not that overpoweringly kind of sugary that makes the teeth/gums tingle.
In fact, it's just terrific.
Also tastes so very fibrous if there's a such thing. 

Basket is packed for spreading some cheer. Hope he likes them!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Vegan Cherry Berry Walnut Scones

A plate of delicious served with a side of fresh fruit & almond milk!
Mmmmhmmmm  fruity scones- veganfied!
What's better than a scone that tastes lightly sweetened and seems to border between a biscuit and cookie?
This recipe was loosely based on The Innocent Primate Vegan's blog post: Vegan Cherry Scones.

Vegan Cherry Berry Walnut Scones

3 1/2 cups flour (used 1 cup oat & 2 1/2 cups all purpose)
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 cup walnut cocoa meal (recipe below)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup crushed walnuts
1/2 cup fruit ( thawed & chopped a mixture of cherries, blackberries, strawberries, & blueberries)
2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup soy milk (used So Delicious Unsweetened Almond Protein Plus)
1 teaspoon vanilla
generous sprinkling of turbinado sugar & cinnamon for topping (optional)

No almond meal on hand? Why not a walnut cocoa blend?

Walnut Cocoa Meal

1 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons cocoa

Grind into blender of food processor until a fine, coarse powder is produced.

Mixing agave & flour.
Getting cherries & berries ready for action!
Add 1/4 of milk at a time, but don't over stir the ingredients. I let dough rest for 2 hours before preheating oven to 400 degrees.
With oven preheated at 400 degrees, I skipped kneading and made triangle shapes on cookie sheet, & sprinkled on sugar & cinnamon. A bit sloppy, but it's still scone-y!
Bake for 12-18 minutes, smiling as cinnamon takes over the kitchen air.
Crunchy on the outside, soft, moist, & chewy on the inside.
Though I enjoyed these sweet fruity, walnut treats, somehow, I want to get my dough to be less wet so that it can be kneaded and cut into appropriate triangular shape. Maybe I'll strictly use only oat flour & use fresh fruit as opposed to frozen.
Overall, a good recipe to try, especially if you love walnuts and that slight hint of chocolate flavor.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Vegan Frozen Black Bean Chocolate Walnut Brownies With Strawberry Banana Icecream

A no bake chocolate black bean walnut brownie with a fruity ice cream center.
Day by day, I've been slowly attempting to merge into the raw world and found a rather charming blog that featured all sorts of desserts that made my mouth water, especially this recipe:
Raw Fudge Brownies

This Rawsome Vegan Life Blog ran by the clean, beautiful Emily von Euw is a useful aide in the raw learning process, inspiring my recipe with her tastefully photographed raw fudge brownies. Though she uses ingredients not on hand like mesquite powder, chia, flax, and hemp seeds, I improvised by raiding pantry, fridge, and the recesses of imagination.

Frozen Black Bean Chocolate Walnut Brownies

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup dates (soaked in 1/4 cup water)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup rinsed and drained black beans
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of ginger
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 cup crushed walnuts
pinch of salt

Strawberry Banana Ice Cream

1 ripened frozen banana
3-4 strawberries
2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut (optional)

First, blend oats, dates (with the water), vanilla, almond milk, applesauce, agave nectar, and black beans in a blender, making sure that all is smooth and even in consistency, but it is completely fine that the black beans are not entirely smashed.

Mix ingredients well.
Fold in crushed walnuts.
Spread batter into a plastic wrap or parchment paper lined pan. Freeze overnight.
Cut into shapes.
The perfect frozen sandwich.
The ice cream is even simpler.
Just mix all the ingredients in the blender (or food processor), quickly spread it across an eager chocolate brownie before it melts, and top with another brownie friend.
Side note: highly recommend eating this with a spoon or fork, otherwise it'll mess you up.
I have got to learn how to share. Haha!
With that chocolaty goodness, crunchy walnut bite, and black beans imitating a sweet chocolate chip texture, it's quite a delicious component to the strawberry banana ice cream! Though a bit on the moist side, I will either add a 1/2 cup more of oats or lessen one wet ingredient of the brownie recipe.
Other than that, it was heaven.
Hot days be damned.
There is salvation now.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Raspberry Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Avocados in a pudding? What the what?
Besides the wild kale craze, avocado pudding is a sweet sensation sweeping the vegan nation.
I see posts all over the web of bowls filled to the rim with this creamy chocolaty madness, exclaiming that the avocado supplied the source of thick, custard like texture.
My brows rose in shocking disbelief.
Of course, being a strictly salad, guacamole, pasta cream fiend, it seemed odd to give avocado a role in the dessert arena, especially where my beloved chocolate is concerned.
But since I happened to be one of the biggest chocoholics in the world, chocolate avocado pudding sounded potentially good.
As always these kitchen experiments often squash my original belief systems.  

Raspberry Chocolate Avocado Pudding

1 ripened avocado
1 cup soy milk
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons sugar
8 raspberries

Combine all ingredients in a blender.
Eat or chill for 3-4 hours in the refrigerator.

Topped with sliced almonds and extra raspberry pizazz.
OMG! So yummy!
All the taste buds can understand is rich, velvety chocolate and tart raspberry that's incredibly delicious. The avocado flavor is disguised perfectly in this lovely bowl of thick creamy pudding.
Definitely a one of a kind, simple to make dessert.
A real keeper! :)