Corn Pudding

Work has been keeping me busy (and leaving me quite exhausted at the end of the week), so I haven’t had time or motivation to post anything for a while. I’ve been looking for another vegetable side to pair with my regular dinner rotation of beans/greens/grains/vegan protein, and this one seemed like a great addition.

Corn Pudding

Corn Pudding 1

Ingredients

  • 3 cups frozen yellow corn, thawed, divided
  • 1/2 cup silken tofu
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced (or use green pepper for less heat)
  • 1/4 cup flour (I used whole wheat)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • cayenne powder, salt, and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie dish/pan and set aside.
  2. Combine 3/4 cup corn, tofu, and non-dairy milk in a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. Line a large skillet with a thin layer of water. Add the onion, jalapeño, and ginger and cook until the onion becomes translucent.
  4. Add the onion/jalapeño mixture and all remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl that contains your corn/tofu/milk mixture. Stir together and pour into the pie dish/pan, spreading with a spatula as needed.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pudding is fully cooked and bright yellow.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Using whole wheat flour in this recipe resulted in a browner colored pudding (and slightly different flavor) than you’d get if you used another type of flour. If you want a brighter yellow color try using a lighter colored flour. The original recipe suggests using quinoa or chickpea flour.

The jalapeño really provides a lot of the flavor in this dish, but it was just too darn spicy for me. Next time I’ll opt for green pepper and some additional seasoning to kick the flavor up a bit.

Source: Adapted from The Happy Herbivore by Lindsay S. Nixon

Chickpea Fries

While I’ve started incorporating some animal products back into my diet, I still try to eat vegan most days. Vegan appetizer recipes are hard enough to find, but add in other dietary restrictions (nightshades, etc) and it’s even tougher. While they don’t taste like traditional potato french fries, these fries are pretty tasty; you can add additional flavor with seasonings and/or dipping sauces of your choice.

Chickpea Fries

Chickpea fries

Ingredients

  • 3 cups chickpea flour (learn how to make your own here)
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F and line a sheet pan (or two) with aluminum foil and spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large pot combine the water, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then slowly add the chickpea flour, whisking as you go. Be careful not to let it boil or you’ll have hot batter flying at you (I’m speaking from experience, here).
  3. When the batter is a little thicker than pancake batter remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool a bit.
  4. Pour the batter onto a greased sheet pan and spread with a spatula until you’ve filled about half the pan.
  5. Chill the batter for at least an hour. When the batter has firmed up, cut into desired size and shape.
  6. Place the fries on the lined sheet pan(s) and sprinkle some seasoning on top (garlic powder is a tasty option).
  7. The baking time depends on the size of your fries and how crispy you want them, so keep that in mind as you go. I baked my fries for about 30 minutes, flipped ’em, sprayed them with more cooking spray, and baked them for an additional 25-30 minutes.
  8. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce or enjoy them just as they are.

My fries turned out to be a bit on the dry side (though crispy), so I’ll probably cut back on the cooking time in the future.

You can certainly pan or deep fry these if you want, but I prefer baking them because it’s a bit healthier and a little less mess to clean up.

Source: Adapted from The Brazen Kitchen

Sweet Potato Mash

Sweet potatoes are another of my favorite fall/winter vegetables. They’re versatile, delicious, and pretty easy to prepare. When I’m in a hurry I’ll wrap one in a wet paper towel and put in the microwave, but these taste best when they’re given plenty of time to cook, like in this crock pot recipe.

Sweet Potato Mash

Sweet Potatoes 1

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy butter substitute (Earth Balance, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Mix all of the ingredients in a crock pot and cook on high for about 4 hours, or until potatoes are tender. Add more liquid as needed. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or hand mixer until they’re as smooth/lumpy as you’d like. Taste and add more brown sugar/cinnamon if desired.

Source: My own culinary genius, with a little inspiration from Six Sisters’ Stuff

Vegan Baked Beans

Baked beans are not the healthiest thing ever, but they are delicious. Most canned baked beans have meat or meat products in them, and even the vegetarian variety are loaded with sodium. I wanted to make a vegan variety and found this relatively simple crockpot recipe. You can further reduce the sodium content by using reduced sodium broth in this recipe.

Vegan Baked Beans

Baked Beans 1

Ingredients

  • 1 pound small white beans (I used Great Northern beans)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions

  1. Soak the beans for a minimum of eight hours or overnight, according to package directions. When they’re done soaking, rinse and drain the beans and set them aside.
  2. Add all of the ingredients except the beans and bay leaf to your crockpot. Mix together. Add the beans and bay leaf and stir.
  3. Cook for 8-10 hours on high or 12-14 hours on low, checking to make sure there’s enough liquid in the crockpot after a few hours. Once everything has come together and beans are as tender as you’d like, remove the bay leaf and serve.

These finished cooking fairly late at night so I didn’t get the chance to try more than just a bite or two until today. They’ve got a bit of a kick to them (though I’m kind of spicy-averse these days, so take that how you will) but they’re really good. You could add a touch of maple syrup to them if you’d like, to add some sweetness and/or combat the spiciness.

Source: Adapted from Kitchen Treaty

Tasty Thanksgiving Recipes

Uffda… it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted here. The job hunt and activist causes have kept me quite busy, and I’ve been suffering from a severe lack of inspiration and motivation. Thanksgiving dinner served as the perfect excuse to look up some recipes and write a blog post.

I’ll admit that I’m a huge fan of the canned cranberry sauce that’s everywhere in the grocery stores this time of year. I grew up eating the stuff, and I still love it. This year I wanted to try something a little more… sophisticated (and less corn syrup-y) so I decided to make my own cranberry sauce.

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

cranberry sauce 3

*This tastes even better the next day, so keep that in mind when deciding when to start cooking.

Ingredients

  • 1 12-ounce bag of cranberries, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2- to 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped candied ginger
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, mix together the cranberries, honey, brown sugar, cinnamon stick, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, and 3/4 cup water.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover, and allow to simmer on medium-low heat for 7 to 8 minutes. The cranberries will start to pop during this time and the mixture will thicken a bit.
  2. Add the orange zest, chopped candied ginger, and orange juice and stir to combine. Simmer uncovered for an 1 to 2 more minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and fish out the cinnamon stick. Add additional sweetener as desired.

Source: Adapted from the kitchn

Sticking with the theme of “less processed foods are tastier,” I decided to make homemade rolls as well.

Oatmeal Molasses Rolls

Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk 
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats (plus more for sprinkling on top of rolls, if desired)
  • 1/2 cup butter cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tsp salt
  • egg
  • 2 1/2-3 cups flour (unbleached all-purpose or bread flour)
  • 2-3 tablespoons melted butter for brushing tops of rolls

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar. Let stand until it gets foamy. If it doesn’t get foamy you’ll need to try again with another packet of yeast.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk to the point just before it boils (this is called scalding the milk, but that’s not a super helpful term). It should be foamy around the edges and have wisps of steam coming off of it. Remove the milk from the heat and add it to the cubed butter in a mixing bowl. Stir to melt the butter, then add the brown sugar, rolled oats, molasses, and salt. Mix well and let the mixture cool to lukewarm.
  3. Add the egg and mix well. Add the yeast and mix to incorporate it. Mix in 2 ½ cups of the flour, then add as much of the remaining 1/2 cup of flour as you need for the dough to lose its sheen. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Scrape the dough into a greased bowl. Turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a minimum of two hours.
  5. Knead the chilled dough slightly. You can do this in the bowl or on a floured surface. Break the dough up into 12 balls. Press each ball into a flat-ish rectangle, then roll it up and tuck the ends under. Place the rolls seam-side down in a greased 9-inch pan. I used a square pan and it worked fine. Brush all over with melted butter and sprinkle with some rolled oats. Let the rolls rise in a warm place until they’re about double in size.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the rolls are brown and sound hollow when you tap them. The internal temperature should be right around 190 degrees. Remove the rolls from the oven and let cool slightly before eating.

Source: Adapted from Food 52.

And finally, Thanksgiving just isn’t complete (in my mind) without pie. This one’s a dairy-free pumpkin pie, and it’s pretty darn good.

Pumpkin Pie

pumpkin pie 1

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 tbsp almond milk

Filling

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1.4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1 /4 cups almond milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat an oven to 425° F.
  2. In a medium size bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Make a well in the middle and pour the oil and almond milk into the well. Mix until a dough forms, then press the dough into a 9-inch pie pan. Crimp the edges if desired.
  3. Mix the white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves together in a large bowl; set aside. In another bowl whisk together the pumpkin puree, oil, eggs, vanilla, and almond milk. Add the pumpkin mixture to the sugar mixture mix well. Pour into the prepared crust and place on a cookie sheet in the preheated oven. You may have some filling left, I used mine to make muffins.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes at 425° F. Reduce temperature to 350° F and bake for 75 to 85 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. I checked for doneness every ten minutes or so after the 60 minute mark. The center may be a bit soft but will firm up later, especially if you refrigerate the pie.

The crust was a little too thick and a bit dry, but the filling was absolutely delicious.

Source: Adapted from AllRecipes

My Attempt at Making Spaetzle

It’s been a busy couple of weeks…took come vacation days and spent some time in Winona visiting a friend from college, finished up my VISTA term, and am now full time job hunting. I thought that having all this extra “free” time would mean more cooking, but it’s really just made me kind of lazy. And when I think lazy I think spaetzle… don’t you?

Spaetzle (pronounced SHPET-sluh, not spetzel, as I and others unfamiliar with the German dumplings have called it) is pretty easy to make. The hardest part is figuring out the best way to drop the dumplings into the pan of boiling water without creating a mess and/or burning yourself with the steam/boiling water. The method used in this recipe SEEMED easy, but ended up being a lot trickier and messier than I anticipated. This recipe from smitten kitchen using the colander and spatula method seems like it might be a better way to go for those of us who haven’t made spaetzle before.

Spaetzle

Spaetzle

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • unsalted butter (for browning the spaetzle)

Instructions

  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and salt.
  2. Place the flour in a large bowl and add the egg mixture, whisking until the batter is smooth.
  3. Transfer the batter to a large, heavy-duty plastic bag and seal. This is a bit difficult to do by oneself (or maybe just for me), so you may need a helper. Cut a bit out of one corner of the bag.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Hold the plastic bag over the pot and squeeze out a few bits of batter into the water. Let them cook until they rise to the top, then remove with a slotted spoon and place on a large plate or platter lined with a few paper towels. Continue with this method until all of the batter is cooked.
  5. Drain the spaetzle well before cooking/storing it. If you want to eat the spaetzle right away you can melt some of the butter in a skillet and cook however many dumplings you’re planning to consume for 2-3 minutes until they’re lightly browned. Season with salt, pepper, and whatever else seems appealing. If you aren’t planning to eat the spaetzle right away toss it in some olive oil and store it in the fridge.

Source: Slightly adapted from It’s All American Food, with some tidbits of wisdom from smitten kitchen.

Rice Salad with Vegetables and Raisins

What comes to mind when you here the word salad? I typically envision something leafy and green, which is interesting considering that neither of the other salads I’ve posted on this blog fit that profile. I’m starting to think of salads more like casseroles (AKA hot dish here in Minnesota) – it’s a name that you can give a dish that combines a whole bunch of ingredients and falls somewhere between a side dish and a meal. Casseroles are served hot, whereas salads are typically served chilled.

Rice Salad with Vegetables and Raisins

Rice Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/2  cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup long-grain brown rice
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • 1/2 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1 to 2 tbsp sweetener of your choice (optional)
  • 1 to 2 tbsp lemon juice (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds, cumin, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and cayenne. Stir until the mustard seeds start to pop.
  2. Add the water and cinnamon stick. Cover and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the rice. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered,  for about 35 minutes, or until rice is done. Add more water as needed to finish cooking the rice.
  4. When rice has finished cooking, remove form heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, and peanut oil. Pour mixture over the rice. Add the carrots, raisins, onions, and peas and stir well. I thought this tasted far too much like peanut/sesame oil, so I added a bit of sugar and lemon juice to balance out the flavors.

You can serve this chilled or warm, as a salad, side dish, or even as a complete meal by simply adding your favorite protein.

Source: Adapted from How it All Vegan!