Vegan Single Microwave Chocolate Chip Cookie!

Danger, danger… you will either love me or hate me for this one!!!

I just figured out how to make a Dangerously Delicious Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie for one in the microwave!  Actually, I found a recipe online and tweaked the ingredients and cooking process.

They are perfect for when you have a craving, but don’t have a lot of folks to share them with, don’t want a lot of them hanging around, and don’t want many dishes to clean up.

Vegan Microwave Chocolate Chip Cookie  

Yield: 1 large cookie (app. 3 1/2 inches)

1 tablespoon melted vegan butter (I use earth Balance)
2 tablespoons Demerara sugar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour  (I use white whole wheat)
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 drops almond extract
1 tablespoon vegan chocolate chips or chunks 1 tablespoon broken walnuts or other nuts

In a very small bowl or cup, whisk together the butter, sugar, flour, and extracts. With your fingers, mix in the chocolate chips or chunks and nuts. Shape into a cookie about 1/2 inch thick in the center of a microwave-safe plate. Microwave for about 60 seconds. Check for doneness in center. If it needs a bit more, microwave for another 20 seconds. You can enjoy it warm and it will be somewhat soft, or you can let it cool a bit and it will be firm enough to lift.

Note: all microwaves are different, so you might want to start out with just 45 seconds and continue to cook in 10 second increments. Cook’s choice.

Vegan Lunch Hack
Southwestern Butternut Squash Bisque

An easy, elegant, low calorie and, of course, vegan lunch hack…

Southwestern Butternut Squash Bisque
Yield: 2 generous servings, app. 200 calories each (including garnish)

Every so often, I go on what I only half-jokingly call an “austerity program,” limiting myself to what’s in my pantry or freezer combined with a few fresh ingredients rather than giving in to whims and cravings that would require more purchases.

I have had some Dr. Mcdougall’s brand organic, vegan Butternut Squash Bisque hanging around in a 17.6 ounce box for a while. I opened it, tasted it, and found it lovely in its sweetness, earthiness, and velvety texture.  But I felt it needed a little boost.  Incidentally, the whole container was only 240 calories.

I also discovered some Frontera brand Green Chile Enchilada Sauce with roasted tomatillo and garlic in an 8 oz package.  This whole container was only 80 calories and it, too, was tasty and silky on its own.

I simply stirred them together, heated the mixture, put a dollop of vegan sour cream and a sprig of fresh cilantro on top, and garnished with a little side salad of mixed lettuces, halved cherry tomatoes, and a wedge of lime. In a very few minutes, lunch was served.

Honestly, I would order this dish in a restaurant and tip generously with compliments to the chef.

Vegan French Fry Salad Sundaes

Dinner tonight was Savory (vegan) French Fry Salad Sundaes (in our new stainless steel French fry cones)!

I love French fries but I like bulking them up with fresh raw ingredients so they are more filling with few additional calories.

We make 2 servings of fries in our new Cuisinart mini-fryer and divide them between paper- or towel-lined cones. Bob devours his with ketchup. I top mine with things like shredded cabbage or, in this case, chopped cauliflower, diced celery, and halved cherry tomatoes.

In the cute little sidecar is a vegan Buffalo Sauce made with my Blooming Platter Lo-Cal Mayo at about 10 calories per tablespoon.

Vegan Buffalo Bites
Pan Sauteed Seitan Bathed in Buffalo Sauce

I am hooked on Whole Foods Buffalo Soy Nuggets.  I literally go to the prepared foods counter and ask for “a small carton vegan crack.”  They know exactly what I mean.

This recipe isn’t that because I use my delicious seitan (“wheat meat”) in place of soy for a more tender product.  Their soy nuggets are rather toothsome, especially cold, which is how I devour them, as they never make it all the way home.

Of course, if you have a favorite seitan recipe, use it.  BUT, I have perfected my recipe after some serious “R & D” in my kitchen.  You can read the backstory and access my recipe for the most delicious version I have ever tasted right HERE.

Vegan Buffalo Bites

Yield: 8 pieces (easily multiplies)

8 pieces Booming Best (Vegan) Seitan, pan sauteed a couple of minutes on each side until lightly browned in a skillet lightly coated with non-stick spray

1 tablespoon melted vegan butter

1 teaspoon hot sauce like Texas Pete’s or Sriracha

1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

1/4 teaspoon Liquid Smoke

1/4 teaspoon molasses

1 teaspoon diced celery

While seitan browns, whisk together all remaining ingredients, except diced celery, in a small bowl. Pour over seitan and toss quickly to coat. Keep gently stir-frying for a minute or two until heated  through. Serve immediately garnished with diced celery.

Blooming Best (Vegan) Seitan
Recipe + Tips & Tricks

First, the back story (or scroll to recipe just below)…

I am not a huge proponent of vegan meat substitutes.  But I do crave them on occasion or need them to make a recipe seem complete, e.g. a pot pie.  And I am completely addicted to Whole Foods Buffalo Soy Bites, so I decided to make my own, though not from soy, as theirs are a bit toothsome.  Making them with my seitan creates a much more tender product.  But the flavor of my basic seitan–which is anything but basic–has been dramatically enhanced by studying their ingredient list.  The two key ingredients gleaned from their label: Liquid Smoke and Molasses.

My tips and tricks for lip-smacking seitan:

Tip 1:  SEASON.  Seitan only tastes as good as it has been seasoned, both the dough AND the stock.  Most of it is dramatically underseasoned to me.  It should be absolutely lip-smacking on its own and not dependent on a sauce or coating.  Do not be fooled into thinking you can merely season the stock, which allegedly permeates the dough as it simmers.  It does.  But not enough.

Tip 2:  INGREDIENTS. My recipe calls for a fair number of ingredients in both the dough and stock–virtually the same ingredients, save the celery, onion, and optional bay leaf in the stock–which may be a deterrent to some.  However, when something is as blank of a slate as vital wheat gluten–the main ingredient–it needs some serious, careful, and judicious balancing of flavors.  But, yes, if you are in a hurry, you may use a generic poultry seasoning in place of all of the dry spices.  It won’t be as scrumptious, but it will be good.

Tip 3:  TASTE.  Granted, seitan, even seasoned, is quite a bizarre texture before it is simmered.  But tasting it, as with anything you prepare, is completely necessary.  So, pinch off a teeny-tiny bit of the dough, rest it on your tongue, make an assessment, discard it rather than swallow it, and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

Tip 4:   DON’T OVER-KNEAD.  Never knead the dough more than 3 minutes.  Recipes tend to recommend longer, but that yields an unpleasantly tough product.  Gluten develops as it is kneaded which is why wheat flour-based recipes for baked goods caution against “overbeating” the batter or dough lest  you end up with something too tough to enjoy.

Blooming Best (Vegan) Seitan

Yield: 1 pint walnut-sized pieces

Note: if pressed for time, you may substitute 2 tablespoons + 1 1/4 teaspoons poultry seasoning for the all of the dried spices.

Blooming Best (Vegan) Seitan Stock

3 cup water

1/4 large onion, separated into rings

3 stalks celery, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

Optional: 1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon all purpose seasoning

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1/2 teaspoon dried, powdered rosemary

1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 large vegetable bouillon cube (for making 2 cups broth)

1/2 teaspoon molasses (or slightly more)

1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Blooming Best (Vegan) Seitan Dough (recipe follows)

In a 2-quart saucepan, combine all ingredients, bring to a gentle boil, and reduce heat to a simmer.  Tear off slightly smaller than unshelled walnut pieces of dough and drop into simmering stock, using entire recipe.  Cover with a lid slightly ajar and simmer very gently for 45 minutes; stir occasionally (if you think of it).  Don’t worry about over-crowding.  It will puff up as it cooks, but it won’t stick to neighboring pieces.

Blooming Best (Vegan) Seitan Dough

1 3/4 cups vital wheat gluten

1 tablespoon all purpose seasoning

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1/2 teaspoon dried, powdered rosemary

1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 large vegetable bouillon cube (for making 2 cups broth)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to 0taste

1 3/4 cups warm water

1/2 teaspoon molasses (or slightly more)

1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke

Stock (recipe follows)

In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients with a fork–it helps to mix water, molasses, and liquid smoke together first–and knead for just 3 minutes directly in the bowl.

 

Vegan Blooming Buffalo Pasta
only 50 calories for an 8 plus oz serving!

BUFFALO PASTA–only 50 calories for an 8+ oz. serving!

Would you believe me if I told you that this 8+ ounce boel of delicioys Buffalo Pasta contains a total of 50 calories, including the pasta, the sauce, and the celery?!  And it is so filling that I couldn’t even eat it all.

The secret is in the Shirataki pasta, which is only 20 calories for 8 oz, and the delicious Buffalo Sauce made from my low calorie Blooming Platter Mayo at only 8 calories per tablespoon.

Note: while the Liquid Smoke and molasses might seem like odd ingredients, the Buffalo soy nuggets we all love from Whole Foods contains smoke flavoring and molasses powder. Even though traditional buffalo sauce contains neither, they are delicious additions.

BLOOMING BUFFALO PASTA
Yield: 1 large serving (or 2 entrees with a side salad); easily multiplies

8 oz Shirataki pasta, drained, rinsed, and heated for 1 minute in the microwave for a cold pasta dish or two minutes for a warm pasta dish

1/2 cup finally chopped celery

2 tablespoons Best Blooming Platter Lo-Cal Mayo

1/2 teaspoon sriracha sauce

1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

1/8 teaspoon Liquid Smoke

1/8 teaspoon molasses

Sea salt to taste

Whisk together the Blooming Platter Mayo, sriracha sauce, vinegar, Liquid Smoke, molasses and sea salt.   Place pasta in a bowl, sprinkle with celery, drizzle with sauce, and garnish as desired.

 

 

 

Best Blooming Platter Lo-Cal Mayo
only 8 calories per tablespoon!

Does this luscious vegan mayo taste exactly like egg-based mayo?  No.  Will you care, especially at only 8 calories per tablespoon?  Absolutely not.  It is delicious and can be used in place of egg-based mayo in tartar sauce and salad dressings, even as a binder for casseroles.

Best Blooming Platter Lo-Cal Mayo

Yield: 2 cups

Note: for speed and convenience, you may use all white vinegar or all lemon juice.  Also, if you like a sweeter mayo, add a hint of stevia.

1 pound firm or extra-firm Silken tofu

1 tablespoon white vinegar

Juice of 1/2 a large lemon (about 1 tablespoon)

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon mustard powder (or 1 1/2 teaspoons prepared yellow or stone ground mustard)

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste (delicious with about half black salt, if you have on hand, for a sulphery “eggy” flavor)

Optional: 1/8 teaspoon tumeric powder

Process all ingredients together in food processor until thick and very creamy, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary and adjusting seasoning as desired.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Vegan Bologna Cake
with Vegan Herbed Cream and Goat Cheese Frosting

Yield: at least 12 servings

This beautiful “cake” is a cinch to make though it impresses in both flavor and appearance.  It looks so pretty on a buffet…maybe even for a wedding or bridal shower?

Admittedly, I took a cake decorating class in high school and have done some decorating over the years, but wielding a pastry bag, especially to make simple borders, stars, and swirls, is quickly and easily mastered.  A YouTube video will do the trick.  However, if you prefer, you can simply frost the cake, garnish with fresh herbs, and your results will be lovely.  I just like the finished edge that piped frosting gives to a cake.

This  “recipe” is not much of a recipe.  You simply stack the vegan bologna, filling between the layers and frosting the sides and top with a mixture of vegan cream cheese and Treeline Soft French-style nut cheese, which I purchase at Whole Foods.  But you could use all cream cheese.  After tucking a few sprigs of fresh herbs here and there, you are finished.  Be sure to slice it with a serrated knife, as 18 layers or so is fairly dense, but oh-so-delicious.

Bob, my meatatrian partner who prefers meat with meat sauce and a side of meat, confessed that he prefers vegan bologna to “real” bologna!  The vegan variety has a much smokier flavor.

 

Vegan Bologna Cake

8 ounces vegan cream cheese

2-6 ounce cartons Treeline brand soft French-Style nut cheese (any flavor, e.g. scallion)

1 teaspoon minced basil

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste if desired

2 packages Tofurky bologna Style Deli Slices (18 slices total)

Sprigs of fresh herbs such as basil, mint, sage, and rosemary

With an electric mixer–stand or hand-held–cream together all ingredients, except bologna, until fluffy.  Line a serving plate with 4 strips of foil or waxed paper to protect plate.  Lay 1 slice of bologna on top, spread to edges with small amount of filling, and repeat with all 18 layers, making the last layer, which will be the top, nice and thick.  Frost sides, pipe on more frosting as decoration, if desired, and garnish with fresh herbs.  Refrigerate until serving time. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Vegan Pad Thai Fries with Bangkok Sin(less) Sauce
Bonus: Blooming Platter Low-Calorie Mayo

Yield: 1 serving (easily multiplies)

I have a new summer crush…

But it is less of a recipe, except for the sauce and mayo, and more of a method for creating one of the tastiest treats you will ever put in your mouth.

My scrumptious sauce, which is very low calorie, compensates for any excessive calories in the fries.  We used Kroger brand crinkle fries–it has to be crinkle in my book!–to save money and felt that the quality was on point.  No need to pay Ore-Ida prices.

And we fried rather than baked them because we just purchased a Cuisinart Mini-Fryer, exactly like the Waring Pro Fryer we have, only smaller.  Waring Pro makes the same mini-fryer but Waring was purchased by Cuisinart and, while you can still purchase both, the Cuisinart model is the newer one.  Each costs $43.95 with free shipping on Amazon.

So, while we fried–and drained/blotted–our fries to test drive our sleek little fryer, you can bake them according to package directions and still love the results.

Then, you just pile fresh ingredients on top, which we like to set up like a mini-bar:  finely shredded cabbage because we had it, though bean sprouts would be the traditional; sliced green onions; chopped cilantro; and a spritz of lime juice.  Finish with a generous drizzle of my Bangkok Sin(less) Sauce and some roasted and lightly salted peanuts and you are all set.  I like to garnish the dish with lime wedges but I inadvertently left them out in the photo.

I love eating my fries with chopsticks, though I needed a fork right at the end to scoop up every outrageous bite.

1 serving frozen crinkle fries, baked or fried according to package directions, and drained on a paper towel-lined rack set over a rimmed sheet pan (this will keep bottoms crispy)

1/2 cup or more shredded cabbage, cabbage-carrot mix, or bean sprouts

1/4 cup sliced green onion

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons or (much!) more Bangkok Sin(less) Sauce (recipe follows)

1 tablespoon roasted and lightly salted peanuts

2 lime wedges

Bangkok Sin(less) Sauce

Note: make more than you need for 1 serving

1/2 cup Blooming Platter Mayo (recipe follows; you can use Vegenaise or another prepared brand, BUT keep in mind that it is 100 calories per tablespoon to my mayo’s 8)

1/4 cup Thai Chili Sauce

Optional but delicious: 1 tablespoon vegan fish sauce (sold as vegetarian in Asian markets)

Optional but recommended: 1 teaspoon lime juice

Whisk together all ingredients and set aside.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Blooming Platter Low Calorie Mayo

(the BEST and so quick and easy)

Yield: 2 cups.  There are only 250 calories in the entire recipe or 8 calories per tablespoon!

1 pound Silken tofu (I used plain Nasoya brand which also sells a “Lite” and “Organic” variety)

1 tablespoon yellow or stone ground mustard

1 tablespoon Liquid Aminos

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 very large garlic clove, cut into about 3 or 4 pieces

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Sea salt to taste

Place all ingredients in bowl of food processor and process until smooth and creamy.  Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.  Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.

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