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.

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!

 

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.

Fourth of July Rhubarb Peach Crumble

Happy Fourth of July! It kind of snuck up on us this year. Since it’s been raining nearly every day for the last month it doesn’t feel like summer yet. It’s been hot, but it feels like an extended rainy spring. I can’t believe it’s July already!

Rhubarb Peach Crumble

We made a rhubarb and peach crumble to celebrate the holiday. If you’re looking for a last minute dessert recipe, this one is really yummy and pretty simple to make. The peaches and rhubarb provide a sweet and tart combo (like strawberries and rhubarb) that compliments the sweet crumble topping.

Rhubarb Peach Crumble

If you’re looking for something more patriotically colored (and chocolatey) try my Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie with Fresh Berries. Add a little vegan whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and you’ll have red, white and blue!

Filling Ingredients:

3 fresh ripe peaches (about 2 1/2 – 3 cups)
3-4 stalks of rhubarb (about 3 cups)
1 lemon (juice and zest)
3/4 – 1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup flour

Crumble Topping Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 – 3/4 cup vegan butter

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of an 8 inch baking pan.
  • Peel and chop the peaches into about 1 inch pieces. Chop the rhubarb into small pieces. Zest and juice your lemon.
  • Place the fruit, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and flour and mix until the fruit is evenly coated. I started with 3/4 cup of sugar and then tasted the mixture. It seemed pretty tart so I added a little more. Adjust the sugar to your own tastes. The sugar and flour will started to mix with the juices from the fruits.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon for the crumble topping. Add the vegan butter in small chunks. Use a pastry blender or fork to cut the butter in. (Sometimes your hands work well too!) The topping should come together in a crumbly consistency, but not as a big ball of dough.
  • Place the fruit mixture in the baking dish. Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the fruit.
  • Bake the crumble for 40-45 minutes until the fruit filling is bubbly and the crumble topping is golden brown.

Crispy Polenta with Toasted Walnuts and Fresh Peaches

Sometimes I get into a rut making the same foods, especially when it comes to breakfast. I was perusing the grocery store shelves, pondering new breakfast ideas when I remembered a yummy breakfast my brother-in-law made one time while I was visiting. I decided to try making something similar. It’s really simple to make and is a tasty alternative to the usual breakfast foods.

This dish features polenta, a tasty porridge made of cornmeal. I bought pre-made Polenta at Trader Joes for this, but you can make it yourself at home pretty easily. I was aiming for a quick breakfast this morning, so that’s why I used premade. Making polenta yourself isn’t hard, but it does take a little time and a decent amount of stirring. The blog theKitchn has pretty good instructions and info about how to make your own polenta. She uses butter in hers, but you can easily veganize it by using vegan butter instead. If you make it yourself, try to make it on the firmer side or let it sit overnight to firm up in the fridge.

A quick note about the “recipe”. This isn’t really a set in stone recipe so much as an idea you can customize. If you don’t like walnuts, leave them out or use almonds, pecans, etc. instead. The same goes for the brown sugar…you could use maple syrup, agave, etc. And of course the peaches are optional too. You could also use berries, jam, apple butter, or any other topping you like! This dish is sweet, but if you’re looking for a more savory polenta breakfast dish I posted the recipe for a Polenta Breakfast Casserole about a year and a half ago. It’s really, really good, so check it out if you missed it!

Crispy Polenta With Toasted Walnuts and Fresh Peaches

Ingredients: (Makes enough for 2-3 people)

18 ounce package of Polenta (or a batch of homemade polenta)
vegan butter
about a 1/2 cup of walnuts
2 – 3 Tbsp of brown sugar (about 1 Tbsp per serving)
1 fresh peach

Directions:

  • Slice the polenta into 1/2 inch thick slices. Pan fry the slices in a little bit of vegan butter. Let them get crispy around the edges. Gently flip the polenta slices. They’ll fall apart if you’re too rough with them, but if you’re gentle they should hold together.
  • Toast the walnuts in a pan over medium heat, stirring them often so they don’t burn.
  • Wash and slice your peach.
  • Place the crispy polenta on a plate. Sprinkle the toasted walnuts on top, and then sprinkle on some brown sugar. Place the sliced peach on top and enjoy your simple, yummy breakfast!

Jewish Apple Cake

When I was in college, I spent summers working in a bakery at a farmer’s market. We made all kinds of baked goods…pies, cookies, muffins, sweet breads. However, my favorite recipe from the bakery was the Jewish Apple Cake. It wasn’t a vegan bakery, and I wasn’t vegan until the end of my time working there. Luckily though, the Jewish Apple Cake is easily veganized by using Ener-G Egg Replacer Powder instead of eggs. The cake didn’t rise up quite as much as it would have with eggs, but the texture was still just like the original.

Jewish Apple Cake

As I was enjoying this cake I realized it would probably work really well with other fruits. Peaches came to mind since they’ll soon be in season. I will definitely be trying this out soon with a peach filling! This recipe makes a big cake, so it’s perfect for sharing. The cake stays moist in the middle and has a nice crispy top from the cinnamon sugar. It’s really a simple, old fashioned recipe, but sometimes the simplest things are the yummiest!

Jewish Apple Cake

Jewish Apple Cake Recipe:

6 Granny Smith Apples
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 Tbsp Ener-G Egg Replacer Powder mixed with 8 Tbsp warm water

  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9 inch Bundt pan.
  • Peel, core, and thinly slice your apples into wedges.
  • In a small bowl combine the cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate mixing bowl whisk together the Ener-G Egg Replacer Powder and the warm water. Then whisk in the oil, orange juice, sugar, and vanilla.
  • Mix the wet ingredients into the dry until well combined.
  • Pour a third of the batter into the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle a generous layer of apples on the batter. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top of the apples. Layer another third of the batter on top, then another layer of apples and cinnamon sugar. Spread the remaining batter on top. Place just a few apple pieces into the batter and sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar.
  • Cover the Bundt pan loosely with tin foil. Bake for 1 hour. Remove the tinfoil and bake for another half hour until the top is golden brown and a skewer or cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean. Covering the cake for the first hour helps to keep the apples on top from burning.
  • The cake slid out of my Bundt pan pretty easily, but if you can’t get it out, you can always serve it from the pan. It does make a nice presentation when it’s out of the pan though!

Vegan Ice Cream Cake

Growing up, my mom would make me ice cream cakes for my birthday sometimes, and I wanted to try recreating that in a vegan version. I often make my own vegan ice cream and I have a really yummy chocolate cake recipe, but I wanted to try making a yellow cake. I’m so partial to chocolate cake, that I had actually never made a vegan yellow cake. I started hunting around for recipes and one in particular popped up in a few different places. I’m not exactly sure where it originated, but I followed the recipe from the blog The Ramblings and Recipes of a Vegan Goddess. It baked perfectly, rising up nicely, but not too high so it was still easily stack-able. This will definitely become my go-to recipe when I want to make a yellow cake.

I also followed the butter-cream icing recipe from that blog post. I added in some lemon extract and it tasted good and did the job, but it came out more like a thick glaze or thin icing than I was expecting. I probably need to adjust the ratio of powdered sugar to vegan butter next time, or I’ll use the chocolate peanut butter frosting that I make for the Moosewood Chocolate Cake. If you have a good vegan icing recipe that you like, feel free to post it in the comments. I haven’t found a basic vanilla one that I love yet.

For the ice cream filling, I made a basic vegan ice cream base and added in fresh strawberries and chocolate. The fresh strawberries made the texture of the ice cream a little too icy, but fresh fruit tends to do that. It was still yummy though! I would recommend using my Mint Chocolate Chip, Coffee Chocolate Chip, or Almond Pistachio recipes, or invent your own flavor! You could also use a store bought vegan ice cream.

Ingredients for Ice Cream Layer:

2 cups soy creamer
1 cup soy milk divided
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
3/4 cup of sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
Any extracts or add-ins you choose

Directions for Ice Cream Layer:

  • Note that the ice cream needs to be made the day before so it can be frozen into the same shape as the cakes over night.
  • Mix 1/4 cup of soy milk with 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder and set aside.
  • Heat up the remaining soy milk, soy creamer, and sugar over medium heat until boiling.
  • Remove from heat and add the vanilla and any other extracts you choose. Then add the soy milk and arrowroot powder mixture. The liquid will thicken because of the arrowroot powder.
  • Put the mixture in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours to fully cool. Freeze according to your ice cream maker directions. The bowl for the ice cream maker usually has to freeze over night before churning.
  • In the last few minutes of churning, add anything else you choose to create the flavor you want – for example chocolate chips, cookie dough, nuts, candy, etc. Line an 8 or 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper, and pour the mixture into the pan. Place it into the fridge overnight to firm up.

Cake Ingredients:

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups cold water
1 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp lemon juice

Cake Directions:

  • This recipe makes two 8 or 9 inch cakes for layering. Preheat oven to 375°. Line the bottom of two 8 inch or 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper. Lightly oil or grease the top of the parchment paper and sides of the pans.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, combine the water, oil, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  • Once the batter is mixed, add the freshly squeezed lemon juice. The lemon juice won’t make the cake taste lemony. The acidity of the lemon juice interacts with the baking soda to help the cake rise. Give the batter a quick stir to combine the lemon juice and then immediately pour the batter evenly into the two pans.
  • Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes. They are done when a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes. Then, gently turn the pans over, supporting the cake with your hand, until the cake comes loose from the bottom of the pan. Flip it over onto the surface you want to ice the cake on. Gently remove the other cake from the pan and place it onto a plate or cooling rack with the bottom facing up. This will make it easier to layer the cakes once they’re cool.
  • Allow the cakes to fully cool. You can put them in the fridge to speed up the process. You don’t want them to be warm since you will be layering ice cream in the middle and it will melt.

Assembling the Ice Cream Cake:

  • While your cake layers are cooling, make your icing. Choose your own favorite icing recipe, try The Vegan Goddess’ recipe, or if you want a chocolate frosting try the Moosewood recipe.
  • Once the layers are completely cool, you are ready to start assembling. Your first cake layer should be on the tray or surface that you want to use to ice and serve the cake. If the cake top is very rounded and puffy, you might want to slice the top off to make it flat. When I made this recipe, however, this wasn’t necessary. Pop the ice cream layer out of the cake pan, using the parchment paper to help you pry it out if needed. Place the ice cream layer centered on top of the bottom cake layer. Place the top cake layer on top of the ice cream layer.
  • Ice the top and sides of the cake. You can decorate the top however you like. I decided to keep it simple, and I dusted some cocoa powder over the top and placed a strawberry in the middle. Keep the cake in the freezer until you’re ready to serve it. If it melts, the ice cream and frosting will run down the sides, so you don’t want to leave it out too long.