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!

 

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.

Post Punk Kitchen Recipes – Summer Seitan Saute With Cilantro & Lime, Tofu Omelets

I recently tried a couple of really yummy recipes from Post Punk Kitchen, Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s website, that I wanted to share. The first is called Summer Seitan Saute With Cilantro & Lime. I make stir fries with seitan pretty often for dinner and was looking for a way to change it up a bit. This was perfect! Most of my stir  fries are Asian inspired…soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, etc. But this one is more Mexican, almost like a deconstructed burrito. Very yummy! You can find the recipe here.

LimePepperOnion

I stuck to the recipe pretty closely, but instead of jalapenos, I used a sweet bell pepper. I don’t like food to be too spicy, but I might try it with the jalapenos sometime, since they’re usually milder than other peppers, especially without the seeds. I also left out the mushrooms, as I seem to be the only vegan who hates mushrooms! Next time I will also increase the quantity of cilantro, because I just really like cilantro.

StirfryCooking

This recipe is definitely worth a try, and we’ll be adding it to our usual dinner rotation. Play with the flavors to make it your own!

LimeSeitan

The other recipe that I tried from Post Punk Kitchen was Tofu Omelets. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture, because we ate them up too quickly! She’s got a great photo on her website though. They were really yummy and pretty simple to make. Again, I pretty much stuck to the recipe with the exception of black salt. I couldn’t find it at the store, but I will keep my eye out for it to use in the next batch. I was surprised by how much these looked like actual omelets. The taste and texture weren’t quite the same as eggs, but pretty close. They were really yummy as their own thing.

Has anyone else tried some recipes recently that they really enjoyed? I’m always on the lookout for new dinner ideas to keep things interesting!

Israeli Salad

I used to get Israeli Salad all the time when I would go to Mediterranean restaurants, but I hadn’t eaten it in a few years. I already had a lot of the ingredients on hand, so I decided to make it for lunch. It really is a tasty, but very simple and healthy meal especially for vegans! It’s perfect as a side dish to any Mediterranean food, or you could pack it up for lunch. Most Israeli Salad recipes seem to be pretty similar, but feel free to adjust it to your tastes. Some variations include adding grated carrot, scallions, mint, or za’atar (a yummy Middle Eastern spice mix).

Israeli Salad

Ingredients:

1 cucumber
1 red pepper
1 – 1  1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 – 2 lemons
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Chop the cucumber, red pepper, and tomatoes. You can peel the cucumber if you prefer, but I left the skin on. Finely dice the red onion. Roughly chop the parsley.
  • Mix all the vegetables and herbs in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  • Juice the lemons. I used Meyer lemons, which are usually smaller than regular lemons, so I used two. You may only need one if using a regular lemon.
  • Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to the lemon juice and mix well. Drizzle the olive oil and lemon juice over the veggies.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well so all the veggies get coated.

Chopped Cabbage and Miso Salad with Marinated Tofu

My sister made this salad for me a while ago, and it’s really yummy. The recipe comes from 101 Cookbooks by Heidi Swanson. This is a really yummy but still pretty light and healthy meal. The crispy shallots alone are amazing, but with the crunchy cabbage, chives, toasted almonds, and miso dressing, it’s really a perfect flavor combination. My sister makes marinated tofu to go with the salad that adds some protein and goes well with the crunchiness of the cabbage.

I didn’t change anything about Heidi’s recipe other than using a combination of red and green cabbage and a larger quantity of cabbage. You can find the recipe for the salad here, and I’ll include the recipe for the marinated tofu I put on top of the salad. Heidi Swanson has a Recipe Journal which some great recipes on it, so browse around her blog while you’re there!

And, to follow up on my New Year’s Resolution, the new (to me) ingredients in the salad are …miso and powdered mustard! I’ve of course eaten miso many times before in miso soup, but for some reason I’ve never cooked with it. Now I have a whole tub, so if you have any other yummy miso recipes, please share them in the comments!

Marinated Tofu Ingredients:

1 block of firm or extra firm tofu
1 – 2 shallots
3 – 4 cloves of garlic
small knob of ginger
1/2 cup of soy sauce
1/4 cup of rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
black pepper
sesame oil

Marinated Tofu Directions:

  • Drain the tofu and press the water out with a paper towel. Slice your tofu into 1/4 inch thick slabs. Spread the tofu out in a baking dish to marinate.
  • Thinly slice the shallots, press or mince the garlic, and grate the ginger. In a bowl, mix together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, water, shallots, garlic, and ginger. Whisk together.
  • Pour the marinade over the tofu so it’s evenly coated. Sprinkle some black pepper on top of the tofu. Allow the tofu to marinade for an hour or two (or longer).
  • A lot of the liquid will probably be soaked up into the tofu, but drain off some of the excess liquid. Reserve the shallots, ginger, and garlic by straining the liquid. Pan fry the tofu, shallots, ginger, and garlic in a little sesame oil until the edges are golden and crispy.
  • Top the Cabbage and Miso Salad with the marinated tofu and enjoy!

Homemade Rye Bread

I didn’t set out to make rye bread. I was trying to make pumpernickel by following a King Arthur pumpernickel recipe, but I ended up with rye bread. I’m still on a quest for a good dark pumpernickel recipe, if anyone knows of one. Despite not turning out to be the type of bread I was expecting, this recipe actually was pretty good.

I made this bread after a trip to the King Arthur store in Vermont. If you find yourself in Vermont, it’s worth a visit! I bought a bag of pumpernickel flour (which is whole rye flour) and followed the recipe on the back with a few small changes. This recipe can be made in a bread machine or by hand. I don’t have a bread machine, so I’ll give the directions for making it by hand.

Ingredients:

2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp brown sugar (they called for non-diastatic malt powder, but I couldn’t find it)
1 cup pumpernickel flour (whole rye flour)
2 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup potato flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2-3 tsp of caraway seeds.

Directions:

  • In a large mixing bowl combine the instant yeast with the warm water and brown sugar. The water should be warm but not too hot to touch. Let the yeast sit for a couple minutes.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until cohesive. You can save some of the caraway seeds for the top of the loaf as well if you want. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes in a warm (but not hot) place.
  • Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is elastic, but still a little sticky. This should take between 5 and 10 minutes. Leave the dough to rise in a covered bowl in a warm place for 1-2 hours until it is almost doubled.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°. Lightly oil a baking pan and turn your dough onto the pan. Form it into a round or oval loaf. Make 3 slashes across the top of the loaf. Brush the loaf with a little water and sprinkle with seeds of your choice if desired.
  • Bake the loaf for 18-22 minutes until the top is golden brown and it sounds hollow when you thump on the top.

BBQ Seitan and Broccoli

I recently made a really yummy recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen called Seitan & Broccoli with Pantry BBQ Sauce. There are tons of recipes on Post Punk Kitchen and you can easily search by recipe type or ingredients to find what you’re looking for. It’s the site of cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz, and it’s definitely worth a look.

I mostly stuck to the recipe on this one, but I did change a few small things. In the BBQ sauce I did not use Sriracha hot sauce. I don’t really use hot sauce so I didn’t want to buy it just for this recipe. I also added shallots to the seitan and broccoli because I tend to put shallots in everything. Next time I make this, I will probably tone down the sweetness a bit and use slightly less vegetable broth. It was really good the way the recipe is written, but I think a slightly less sweet, thicker sauce would be perfect.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion
3-4 cloves of garlic
1-2 shallots
salt and pepper to taste
1 package of seitan (about 1 lb)
3-4 cups broccoli florets

BBQ Sauce:
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 tsp Sriracha (optional)

Directions:

  • In a mixing bowl, combine all of the BBQ sauce ingredients and whisk until smooth. Taste the sauce to see if you need to add anything.
  • Chop the onions and shallots and press or mince the garlic.
  • In a large skillet or pan, sauté the onions, garlic, shallots, and sprinkle on the salt and pepper. Once the onions are lightly browned, add in the seitan and sauté until browned.
  • Add the broccoli florets to the pan and cover it with a lid for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the broccoli is tender, add the BBQ sauce and stir to coat everything.
  • I served the BBQ seitan and broccoli with a side of homemade cornbread. You could also serve it over rice or another grain.

Virtual Vegan Potluck! Curry Noodles with Broccoli and Tofu

Welcome to the second Virtual Vegan Potluck! If you just happened to come to my site and don’t already know about the Virtual Vegan Potluck, here’s how it works. Since we can’t all get together for a real vegan potluck (participating bloggers are from all over the world!), Annie from the blog An Unrefined Vegan came up with the idea to have one virtually. This means that a lot of different blogs post vegan recipes on the same day for a variety of courses…appetizers, salads, main dishes, soups, desserts, etc.

You can work your way through the whole potluck by starting at Vegan Bloggers Unite! and following the links. The blog before mine in the potluck is 40 Fit In The Mitt. The blog after mine in the potluck is VegHotPot.

My plans for the potluck were a bit thrown off by Hurricane Sandy. I signed up to make an appetizer, but I wasn’t able to make the recipe I wanted to this past weekend because Hurricane Sandy kept me from the grocery store. I didn’t have the ingredients I needed, so instead, I’m sharing a different recipe, which is also quite tasty. It could still fall under the appetizer category, or it could be a side or a main dish too. It’s got a yummy flavor combo, and it’s quick to make.

This recipe originally came from Vegetarian Times in the April/May 2011 edition. I changed a couple small things, but it’s mostly the same as the Vegetarian Times Recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 large shallots
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 of a yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (save 1/4 cup for garnish)
  • 2 Tablespoons Thai  red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 15-ounce can light coconut milk
  • ¾ cup vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 12-ounce package of firm tofu
  • 1 package of Asian noodles (I used flat Somen noodles)
  • 5 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 lime

Directions:

  • Chop the onion and shallots, and press or mince the garlic. Roughly chop the cilantro. It’s okay to leave some of the upper stems in with the leaves when you chop it. Set aside 1/4 cup of the cilantro for garnish.
  • Heat the oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the shallots, garlic, and onions in the oil for a couple minutes. Add 1/4 cup of cilantro, curry paste, curry powder, and turmeric. Stir and let cook for a minute. (I was worried it would be too spicy with the Thai red curry paste, but it turned out not to be spicy at all. I think this probably varies by brand, but I would consider increasing the amount of curry paste next time I make this.)
  • Add in the coconut milk, broth, and brown sugar. Stir and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Drain the tofu and cut it into 1 inch cubes. If you want it to be a little crispy on the edges, you can saute it in a little oil in a separate pan before adding it to the pot. Add the tofu to the pot with the other ingredients, and simmer another 10 minutes.
  • In a separate pot, cook the noodles according to the directions on the package. You could also substitute rice instead of noodles, if you prefer. Add the broccoli florets to pot of noodles for the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Drain the noodles and broccoli and add them to tofu-curry mixture. Mix well, so the noodles and broccoli are coated.
  • Serve the curry noodles with the chopped cilantro sprinkled on top and a lime wedge on the side. Don’t skip the lime! Squeezing the lime juice over the noodles really completes the flavor of this dish.

You can work your way through the whole potluck by starting at Vegan Bloggers Unite! and following the links. The blog before mine in the potluck is 40 Fit In The Mitt. The blog after mine in the potluck is VegHotPot.

Hurricane Sandy and Vegan Pizza

It’s been a weird week with Hurricane Sandy. There’s still no power at my work office in NYC, so I’ve been out all week and cabin fever is setting in! I finally ventured out today and it was nice not to be stuck inside. Luckily, there was no damage where I am, but it’s sad to see all the photos from New York, Hoboken, the Jersey Shore and all the places that were badly affected by the storm. Hope you all fared ok if you were in the path of Hurricane Sandy!

I wanted to share a tasty meal I made during the storm. I’ve posted about homemade pizza in the past, but I figured I would share this new combo. I bought pizza dough from Trader Joe’s before the storm hit. I sauteed some garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, and pepper in vegan butter. I used this as a garlic butter base rather than tomato sauce. Then I topped that with sauteed onions, vegan sausage, fresh slices of cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil. It made for a yummy and quick meal in the midst of all the rain and wind.

The storm left me thinking…how do vegans prepare for emergency situations? We stocked up on vegan granola bars, vegan soups and chili, almond milk, cereal, pasta and sauce, Annie’s Bunny Fruit Snacks, and all the usuals like water, bread, etc. What do you stock up on when a storm is headed your way? Anyone have any good tips?

Also, keep an eye out for the Virtual Vegan Potluck taking place tomorrow. There should be lots of yummy recipes!