Thursday, August 20, 2009

Peach Upside Down Cake that will rock your world!

I found the recipe that will keep me a vegan for the rest of my life.
sometimes I get sad when I see lovely almost croissants or delicious iced lemon cookies and I realize I cannot indulge in them.
Whenever I'm wishing for a treat, I will remind myself of this warm, buttery, lemony, sweet, fresh dessert and say, "haha. I can have my cake and eat it too!"
With it's low cal and fat content and amazing flavor, it's irresistable.
I wish I could take teh credit, but I got it off of one of my fav blogs.
The only thing I did was use rice instead of soy and I used whole wheat flour instead of white... you will not be sorry if you make this.
If you're looking for a vegan recipe to try- THIS IS IT!

A quick shout out to my great-grandmother and her cast iron skillet. I'm convinced she would have an aneurism if she knew I made a vegan dessert in one of her pans, but she not here to say, "Allison, what on earth are you doing?!" So, ha.
Click here for the recipe and make sure to browse the rest of this site: it's fantastic. Feel free to view my photos below... sorry if there's drool on the screen. ;)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Eggplant Parmesan

This weekend, my dear friend, Nicole asked, "When are you going to update your blog? I check it all the time!" Thank goodness someone does... if you're out there, little readers, please comment on my recipes so I know you're reading!
In any case, I'm posting this recipe for Nicole because she asked. So, if there is anyone who wants me to cook something and post it on my blog: tell me!!! I'm sure vegan cooking sounds scary and there must be tons of recipes you're sure I cannot veganize, so give me a challenge.
Last week, I received some eggplant from my CSA. I really enjoy eggplant, but I enjoy it the same way I enjoy mint... as a flavor. No one sits around eating mint leaves, and rarely do I eat an eggplant, even though eggplant tapenade and hummus frequent my refrigerator. So, today was the perfect night to make eggplant parmesan. Likely one of the most common vegetarian Italian dishes, I've read recipes that fry the eggplant, bake it, bbq it, or some combo of two. Since I've never had eggplant parmesan, I cannot say how this recipe compares, but our foreign exchange student and I loved it.
My red sauce was homemade and I even added some diced squash (because oodles of it are sitting on my counter, yelling at me to use them!)
For tonight, I will not be posting my sauce recipe because it was a little too acidic, but I'll play with it and get back to you.
Don't forget to read the post below this one- I've made some treats for you!

Eggplant Parmesan: serves 4-5

3 medium to large eggplants
1-2 tablespoons healthy oil
1 cup panko breadcrumbs (their texture holds up well in the oven)
Vegan parmesan cheese
Vegan mozzarella cheese (opt.)
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon oregano, or other dried herb
I jar, can, or 2 cups red sauce

Preheat oven to 425.
Slice eggplant diagonally, in about 1 inch slices. Brush with healthy oil, on both sides.
Mix breadcrumbs, garlic, onion, parmesan and herbs into a shallow bowl.
Lightly coat a baking dish with red sauce. (The casserole dish should be large enough to hold the eggplant slices without overlap.)
Place each eggplant slice into the breadcrumb mix, making sure both sides get a generous coat.
When finished, place each slice into the baking dish, sprinkle leftover crumbs onto the eggplant slices.
Cook in the oven for about 25 minutes.
(This is the eggplant after the first bake.)
When the crumbs are crisply, pour sauce over each slice to cover. Top with mozzarella cheese and return to oven. Cook until bubbly and brown- about 10 more minutes.

Graham Crackers and Oreos

I believe Donna Reed, June Cleaver and every 1950's housewife smiled upon me today, while Gloria Steinem and the other radical feminists of the 20th century mocked me for my cooking endeavors. Nevertheless, today I made graham crackers and Oreos... I know. Ridiculous.
I should have been a woman in 1954... I would have found some handsome man to marry me and I could have hung around in a kitchen making donuts and truffles all day. Oh well.
I haven't tried the graham crackers yet (I'm waiting for a dark chocolate s'more tonight!) but the recipe's been begging for an attempt since I read it on VeganYumYum. Although I still find omitting honey from my diet somewhat laughable (are the bees really complaining?!) it is not vegan, thereby making graham crackers non-vegan. All for the best; they're usually loaded with HFCS and other nonsense that modern American society claims standard. (I'm off my soapbox.) To see the recipe, head to VeganYumYum, the first vegan cooking blog I ever read, with "to die for" recipes and pictures.

The Oreos, however, were all me. Well, the cookie was. The buttercream is the standard recipe found on the internet. The neighbor kids came over yesterday and we decided to bake cupcakes. I had a small bowl-ful of leftover frosting and conjured an urge to make Oreos. I really love Oreos- something I never thought I'd say, but it's true. Unbelievably, they're vegan, which makes me more scared because of what's in that deliciously naughty creme filling- more HFCS, for sure!
I made the cookies off of several recipes. There are a ton of chocolate cookie recipes out there, ranging from cake box mix to a more complex Italian style. I opted for a somewhat simple recipe. Of course, I substituted eggs with flax, and let me say, why is flax so amazing?! There is no need for eggs in baking when one can throw a tablespoon of flax and some water into a cookie- seriously.
Alright, get on your aprons, pearls and your 1950's heels and get in that kitchen and bake some "better for you than the packaged junk, but still not healthy" cookies. (See the Oreo recipe below.)

1 1/3 cups Brown Rice flour (you could use any kind... this is what I had on hand.)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups turbinado sugar (same rules apply for sugar... use any kind.)
9 tablespoons room temp earth balance
1 tablespoon flax and 4 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375.
In a bowl mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar. While an electric mixer, add the butter, flax, water and vanilla. Beat until combined. It may be a bit crumbly, but that's okay-it will come together. Drop rounded teaspoons (best with a melon baller) of batter onto pizza stones- or lined cookie sheets. Make sure cookies are in ball shapes and press down with palm of hand. Bake for 8-9 minutes. It's hard to tell when the cookies are done because they're dark, but do not let them crack. This will make them difficult to sandwich.
Make cream filling while cookies are baking and cooling.
*Let cookies cool completely before sandwiching*
After the cookies have cooled on a rack, turn one upside down and place about 1-2 tablespoons, or more if desired, buttercream onto cookie. Spread like butter on bread. Place another cookie on top to create a sandwich. The frosting should be thick, but not overwhelming: you want to be able to see it!
When you've made all the sandwiches, place cookies in a tupperware container- do not overlap- and stick them in the freezer to set. You can serve them frozen or thawed.