Homemade Apple Sauce

Fall is my favorite season! It’s shaping up to be pretty busy this year. I started working a part time job, I’m gearing up to start selling jewelry and hand dyed textiles at craft shows, and I’m going back to school to get a certificate in social media and marketing. These are all exciting and good developments, but it’s left me a bit behind in my posting. However, with the arrival of pumpkin and apple season, I had to post a new recipe!

One way to enjoy your apples is to make homemade applesauce. It’s so much better than applesauce you buy in the store, and it’s actually very easy and quick to make. I used some of this applesauce as the middle filling layer in a cake and it worked really well. I veganized the apple sauce recipe by The Great Cake Company that they use in their Caramel Apple Cake. The applesauce is sweet but also tart so it cut through some of the sweetness of the icing and cake. It’s also yummy all by itself!

If you’re in the mood for some other apple recipes, take a look at my recipes for Jewish Apple Cake, Rum Raisin Baked Apples, or make an Apple Pie! If you’re looking for a pumpkin recipe, check out my recipe for Pumpkin Bread with Oatmeal Crumble Topping. It’s seriously yummy stuff. And, if you’re carving a pumpkin, try making Toasted Pumpkin Seeds! Hope you’re enjoying fall as much as I am!

Applesauce

Ingredients:

3 Pink Lady apples
3 Granny Smith apples
4 1/4 cups of apple cider (separated)
2 Tbsp rum
3 Tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter
2 Tbsp agave
1 Tbsp brown sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  • In a large saucepan, bring 3 1/2 cups of apple cider to a boil. Allow it to simmer until it reduces to about 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup. This will probably take about 40-45 minutes. If you want to skip this step, you can purchase boiled apple cider from King Arthur Flour.
  • Peel and core the apples, and roughly chop them.
  • Add the apples, boiled apple cider, apple cider, rum, vegan butter, agave, brown sugar, and cinnamon to a large saucepan. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • After cooking the sauce will be soft enough to mash easily. Use a pastry cutter or potato masher to mash the sauce. Store in the fridge and enjoy!
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Panzanella Bread Salad

It’s so hard to find good tomatoes these days. I’m not sure why that is. I remember summer tomatoes when I was a kid that were amazing. They were full of flavor and we would eat them on their own with a little sprinkle of salt. Of course, my parents grew tomatoes in their back yard so that’s probably why they were so good…they were perfectly fresh and ripened on the vine. The tomatoes that you find at the store or even at farm markets often don’t taste like much and don’t really compare to the ones I remember.

However, a little while back I did find some at Whole Foods that were grown at a local farm, and they were the best I’ve had in a long time. If you have some end of summer tomatoes and are looking for a good recipe, this is a classic dish that really showcases the tomatoes. It was also a good way to use up some of my basil. I grew it from seed and it’s finally growing well after staying kind of scrawny all summer. It’s in a sunnier spot now which it seems to enjoy. With bread, fresh basil, and tomatoes, it’s hard for this recipe to go wrong!

Panzanella

Ingredients:

1 small baguette (or about 2 rolls or half a loaf) of good crusty day old bread
olive oil
salt
pepper
garlic powder
2 tomatoes
1 cucumber
1/4 red onion
handful of fresh basil
3 cloves of garlic
balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Cut the bread into large cubes. If the bread it still soft (mine was even after a couple days), preheat the oven to 400°. Place the bread cubes on a baking pan. Drizzle a little olive oil over top and sprinkle on salt, black pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Bake the bread cubes for 5-10 minutes until they dry out a little bit. If your bread is still soft and you skip this step, the bread will be really soggy once it soaks up juices in the salad.
  • Chop the tomatoes, peel and chop the cucumber, and thinly slice the red onion and basil. Place all the veggies in a large mixing bowl.
  • Once the bread is finished toasting, add it to the bowl and mix it up.
  • Drizzle on a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle on some salt and pepper to taste. Stir so everything gets evenly coated and serve right away. This salad is best eaten the same day it’s made because the bread will get soggy in the fridge overnight.

Vegan Sausage and Peppers

I like to make food from scratch as much as possible, but with a recent move I didn’t have much time to cook (or blog, sorry guys!). Things are finally settling down, and I’m getting organized in my new kitchen. Sometimes when life is hectic you just need a quick dinner that’s still yummy and satisfying. This one fits the bill!

Sausage and PeppersIn this recipe, I used Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage vegan sausages. Field Roast also has Italian and Mexican Chipotle vegan sausages which you could try as well, but the Smoked Apple Sage ones are my favorite. Of course you could also make your own vegan sausages if you have a recipe you like and plenty of time to spare! This is a quick and easy vegan version of an old classic.

Ingredients:

4 Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage vegan sausages
1 green pepper
1/4 red onion
4 – 5 cloves of garlic
olive oil
salt and pepper
small handful of fresh basil
4 – 5 rolls

Directions:

  • Slice the sausages into bite size pieces. Chop the pepper and thinly slice the red onion.
  • Saute the sausages, pepper, and onion until the edges of the sausage are golden and a little crispy and the onions are translucent.
  • Press or mince the garlic and add it to the pan to saute.
  • Thinly slice the basil. Add the basil, salt, and pepper to taste. Saute for another minute for the basil to wilt slightly, then remove from heat.
  • Slice the rolls and fill them with the sausage and pepper mixture. Top with mustard, ketchup, or your favorite topping and enjoy!
  • Vegan Caramel Candies and Caramel Sauce

    Sorry for not posting much over the last two weeks! I was away in Portland and California for a week and a half and am currently in the midst of a move. I’m taking a break from schlepping boxes downstairs to share a new post with you. This was a recipe I made a while back and never got around to sharing. One thing that seems hard to find is caramel that’s vegan. I decided to try making some myself. It turned out really well and definitely satisfied my caramel craving!

    Vegan Caramel

    Making caramel seems intimidating at first because you need to use a candy thermometer and monitor the temperature of the caramel. Once you understand how it works and the texture that each temperature produces, it’s really not so hard to make!  Whether you end up with a syrup, a caramel, or a hard candy is dependent on how much water evaporates out of the mixture, in other words, how concentrated the sugar is. The temperature will rise as the water slowly evaporates. Here’s a handy guide on the Exploratorium’s Science of Cooking page.

    I found this recipe on Group Recipes, but it originally came from The Glad Cow Cookbook. With this recipe, you can make firm caramel candies or a caramel sauce to drizzle on vegan ice cream. I made both out of one batch and they were equally delicious! And I should mention, it’s always a good idea to be extra careful when making caramel. You definitely don’t want to spill the hot sugar on yourself!

    CaramelWrapped

    Ingredients:

    1 cup vegan butter
    2 cups sugar
    2 cups soy milk
    1 cup light corn syrup
    1 tsp vanilla

    Directions:

    • Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper.
    • Place the vegan butter, sugar, soy milk, and light corn syrup in a large pot and cook over medium heat stirring often. The mixture should come to a boil.
    • Monitor the temperature of the mixture using a candy thermometer.
    • If you would like to make caramel sauce, heat the mixture until it reaches 230°. Stir in the vanilla, then carefully pour it into a jar and store it in the fridge. You can warm it by running the jar under hot water before serving.
    • If you would like to make caramel candies, heat the mixture until it reaches 245°. Stir in the vanilla and pour the mixture into the parchment lined baking dish. Allow the mixture to fully cool, then use kitchen scissors or a knife to cut the candies into small squares. Wrap each individual piece in a square of parchment paper and twist the ends to seal. Store the candies in the fridge.

    Note: You can make some caramel sauce and some candies from the same batch. Once the mixture reaches 230° pour out the amount of caramel sauce you would like, adding the vanilla to the sauce and placing it in the jar. Continue to heat the remaining caramel until it reaches 245°, then follow the steps for making the candies.

    Corn and Cilantro Pancakes

    Want to eat pancakes for dinner? Why not make them savory pancakes? I adapted this recipe from one I found on Eating Well for Corn and Basil Pancakes. The original recipe contained milk and eggs so I veganized it and swapped out cilantro for most of the basil. I’m pretty sure these would be amazing with just basil, but I had a lot of cilantro on hand.

    Corn and Cilantro Pancakes

    I also doubled the amount of batter per corn and cilantro because it didn’t look like there would be enough batter to hold everything together otherwise. They turned out really yummy! I served these with the cucumber dill salad from my last post and vegan crab cakes from Sophie’s Kitchen. These savory pancakes are perfect to make on a summer night with fresh corn!

    Corn and Cilantro Pancakes

    Ingredients:

    1 cup flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    1 1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp ground black pepper
    2 Tbsp Ener-G Egg Replacer powder mixed with 8 Tbsp warm water
    2 Tbsp olive oil
    1 cup soy milk
    2 cups corn
    1/2 cup fresh cilantro (+basil), chopped

    Directions:

    • Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and ground black pepper together in a mixing bowl.
    • In a separate small bowl, whisk together the warm water and Ener-G Egg Replacer powder. Add this to the dry ingredients along with the olive oil and soy milk. Whisk it all together until combined, but don’t overmix.
    • Stir in the corn, cilantro, and basil.

    Corn and Cilantro Pancake Batter

    • Heat a skillet over medium heat, and drizzle in a little olive oil. Using a measuring cup, scoop about 1/4 – 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook the pancakes until they start to bubble and the edge start to dry, then flip and allow the pancake to get golden brown.

    CookingPancakes

    • Sprinkle some chopped cilantro on top, serve right away and enjoy!

     

    Cucumber Dill Salad

    Cucumbers have always been one of my favorite vegetables. My mom tells me that one of my first words was “More”. She would give me slices of cucumbers and peppers, and I would say “More!” I guess I was meant to be vegan! I’ve always loved veggies. This recipe definitely showcases cucumbers, which is probably why I like it so much.

    Cucumber Dill Salad

    When I used to work at a farm market, we made a cucumber salad very similar to this one. It’s a simple and fresh salad that goes perfectly with summery barbecues. If you’ve never had a similar cucumber salad, just imagine fresh pickles. The vinegar, dill, and sugar give the cucumbers a sweet and sour pickle taste while keeping the crunchiness of the fresh cucumbers. I found some pickling cucumbers at a local farmers market that looked really good, so I decided to use those, but you can use regular cucumbers as well.

    Ingredients:

    3 cucumbers
    1/2 small white or yellow onion
    3/4 cup vinegar
    1/3 cup water
    2/3 cup sugar
    2 tsp dried dill

    Directions:

    • In a mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and dill. Whisk until well combined.
    • Thinly slice the cucumbers. You can peel them first if you prefer, but I usually leave the peels on. Thinly slice the onion. Place the onion and cucumbers in the mixing bowl. Toss to coat with the liquid.
    • Let the cucumber salad sit for at least an hour or two and preferably overnight. The cucumbers will soften up a little and the flavors will seep in more if it sits overnight.

    Vegan Seitan Pot Pie

    My mom used to make chicken pot pie while I was growing up and it was one of my favorites. It’s really easy to veganize and perfect for feeding a big group or bringing to a pot luck. It’s a crowd pleaser! I made it for a family gathering of vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores and everyone seemed to like it.

    Seitan Pot Pie

    It also makes yummy leftovers the next day. You can make the filling and dough a day ahead of time if need be, and assemble it right before you bake it. This can help ease your work load if you’re cooking for a holiday or have family and friends over.

    Seitan Pot Pie

    Ingredients:

    Pie crust
    1 3/4 cups veggie broth
    1/3 cup flour
    1/2 cup soy milk
    2-3 potatoes chopped (about 3 cups)
    1 1/2 cups frozen pearl onions
    5 carrots
    2-3 stalks of celery
    3 shallots
    4 cloves garlic
    1/2 yellow onion
    1 8 oz pack of seitan
    1-2 Tbsp vegan butter
    1 1/2 cups frozen peas or mixed veggies
    salt
    pepper
    rosemary
    thyme

    Directions:

    • Follow the directions from my pie crust post to make a vegan crust for the top of the pot pie. Since you only need a crust for the top of the pot pie and not the bottom, you can cut the recipe in half. Add fresh herbs into the dough if you like. Place the dough in the fridge while you prep the filling.
    • Preheat the oven to 425°.
    • Bring the veggie broth to a boil in a large pot. While you’re waiting for it to boil, peel and chop your potatoes into small pieces.
    • Reduce the broth to a simmer. Whisk together the flour and soy milk and add it to the veggie broth. Whisk to combine.
    • Add the potatoes and pearl onions to the stock and allow them to simmer while you prep other ingredients.
    • Peel and chop your carrots. Chop your celery. Finely chop the shallots and onion and mince or press the garlic.
    • Saute the shallots, onion, and garlic in a little vegan butter.
    • Add the carrots, celery, shallots, onion, garlic, and frozen peas/veggies to the broth. Allow it to simmer for a few minutes. If the sauce doesn’t seem to be thickening enough, you can whisk up a little more flour in soy milk and add it to the broth. Add salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary to taste. Pour the filling into a casserole dish.
    • Roll out the pie crust on a floured surface. It should be about 1/4 inch thick and a little larger than the shape of your casserole dish. Place the crust on top of the casserole dish. Fold over the edges of the dough and press them down crimping along the edge of the dish. Remove any excess dough.
    • Poke some holes in the dough using a fork so steam can vent out.
    • Bake the pot pie for 45 minutes – 1 hour until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. If the crust is getting too dark you can place tin foil on top during part of the baking process.