Vegan Cauliflower Biscuits
no pre cooking of cauliflower!

Vegan Cauliflower Cheese Biscuits–yowza!

Yield: 1 dozen biscuits (only 28 calories each, including the butter!)

As I was developing the recipes for my hard-to-beat cauliflower tart dough and cauliflower pizza dough, I stumbled across a reference to cauliflower biscuits. Specifically, cauliflower cheese biscuits. My interest was definitely piqued.

Home from school as hurricane Florence bears down on the East Coast, and avoiding grading quite admirably, I decided to experiment. I got these right on the first try!

What distinguishes my cauliflower based recipes, in part, are that they do not require pre-cooking of cauliflower as virtually all of the recipes do. I simply can’t take time for an additional step. And my final products are delicious with beautiful texture.

As for biscuits, I grew up in Mississippi, and I know from good biscuits. When I was in high school, Hardee’s introduced their biscuits and my boyfriend and I would spend Saturday mornings trying to duplicate them. I am a biscuit fanatic, but I haven’t eaten even vegan ones in years because of the calories.

However, a whole batch of these biscuits has about the same calories as one regular biscuit, vegan or not! Are they an exact replica of a biscuit? No, but they somehow satisfy much of the same craving.

1 pound trimmed cauliflower

3 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons Vegan Egg (available as a powder at healthier grocery stores)

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup shredded vegan cheddar cheese ( I used Daiya)

Optional: Chesapeake Bay Seasoning

1 tablespoon vegan butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees. Line a baking pan with a silicone baking mat, if available, and spray with non-stick spray. I used Baker’s Joy which has flour mixed with the oil.

Place cauliflower, water, Vegan Egg powder, garlic powder, and sea salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the consistency of a very slightly textured cookie dough. Pulse in cheese.

Using a cookie scoop, place 12 balls of dough a couple of inches apart on prepared baking sheet, and then slightly flatten to make a biscuit shape. If desired, sprinkle very lightly with Chesapeake Bay Seasoning and bake for 30 minutes. Brush tops with melted butter, remove to a wire rack to cool slightly, and serve warm.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfood #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfood #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn

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Vegan Single Microwave Pumpkin Pancake
it is lo-cal with no added fat or sugar

Yield: 1 pancake

Breakfast just got a whole lot quicker, healthier, and more fun!

Many of you know that I am not a breakfast eater. Sorry, it is simply not the most important meal of the day for me. I drink some soy milk and call it done. But, I have a yoga class at 12:30 and I was hungry, but not wanting to weigh myself down.

I happened to think that if I can make a single microwave chocolate chip cookie that is delicious and ready in a minute and a half, surely I could do the same thing with a pancake.

And I did!  I am so excited to share it with you.

Here is my simple recipe:

2 tablespoons self-rising flour
1 tablespoon powdered stevia
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
1 tablespoon canned pureed pumpkin
2 tablespoons non dairy milk (I use unsweetened soy)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
Optional garnish: 2 teaspoons maple syrup, pecan halves, pinch sea salt

In a cup or small ramekin, whisk together all ingredients. Shape into a pancake about 1/2- inch thick on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave for 1 minute, carefully flip with a spatula, and microwave for another 30 seconds. Garnish as desired and serve. Note: microwaves have variable power, so you might need to experiment with cooking time.

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Why Whole Foods Vegan Cornbread Should NEVER
Be Used to Make Stuffing

Image result for whole foods vegan cornbreadIt looks harmless enough, doesn’t it?  But don’t be fooled…

Happily tasked with contributing several items to this year’s Thanksgiving repast, I thought I might reduce my cooking time–though I love to cook almost as much as anyone–by purchasing prepared cornbread for the stuffing. I applaud virtually everything about Whole Foods, so I thought I couldn’t go wrong.  But, I was wrong.  Bad wrong.

As Bob opened each cellophane wrapped hunk, I thought the moist crusts looked very similar to poundcake.  I tasted it and, as best I could tell, it was poundcake–and a very moist one at that–made with cornmeal.  Who would want a bread that sweet with their chili, lentil soup, or any of the rest of the WF family of soups next to which this alleged “cornbread” is sold?  I don’t even care for cake that sweet.

But, I like savory and sweet combos as much as the next gal, so I soldiered on.  Still, this cornbread was so sweet that I was dubious about how compatible the celery, onion, and sage was going to be with these cakey crumbs.  Yet, I didn’t have time to stop and make cornbread from scratch, so Bob persisted, crumbling the cornbread and one baguette into a huge bowl.  And I proceeded with my recipe, adding the aforementioned plus lots of beautifully toasted pecan halves.

As I poured the vegetable stock over the mound of ingredients, I watched in horror as it dissolved into what can only be described as a cookie-dough like consistency.  Desperate, I added the half cup or so of Panko bread crumbs that I had on hand, but it was of no use.  I decided to go ahead and bake it, hoping that science and physics might work some kind of magic in the oven.  But, alas, I pulled it out, tasted it, and my response can only be described as disgust at what was a dense, heavy, pasty, unpleasant-tasting mass.

In a last-ditch effort, I sprinkled some sliced green onion over the top and slid it back in the oven for about 10 more minutes.  There was no appreciable change to the unappetizing mass. I briefly considered melting vegan butter over the top for some salty goodness, but then came to my senses:

I marched straight out the front door, across the little Japanese bridge over our dry river bed, and into the woods where I unceremoniously dumped the whole lot of it into the deep carpet of leaves.  We live on Buchanan Creek which feeds the Chesapeake Bay and I  know from my freelance writing about eco-issues that residents are not supposed to dump fatty ingredients down the sink or onto the ground.  However, I wanted that glob out of our house–I didn’t even want it in a sealed bag in the garage–and fast.

There would be no stuffing this year, but there was more than enough delicious food.  And I didn’t tarnish my reputation as one of the family’s inspired cooks.

I hope your Thanksgiving was earmarked by culinary successes or, at the very least, culinary lessons learned well.  Happy Holidays!

 

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Countdown to Your Best Vegan Thanksgiving
Five Dishes Everyone at Your Table Will Be Thankful For

Thanksgiving is my favorite time of year to be vegan. Though I am thankful every day that I chose many years ago to live more compassionately, it is during this season that I celebrate my favorite tastes and textures…and share them with you.

The mouthwatering menu I have selected for you features two entrée-like dishes, both meals in themselves because of the balance of ingredients: greens, grains, veggies and more.  So delightfully pretty, filling, and creamy are these dishes that the only side dish I recommend is a fresh bright salad that sounds some special autumnal notes in the form of dried fruits and smoked nuts.  All that remains to round out this bountiful fall feast is my late mother’s Double Cornfingers which I recommend serving in place of stuffing.  For dessert, I offer a recipe I developed for Tofutti a few years back that is a perennial favorite.  These pumpkin cheesecake bars with their streusel topping are super quick and easy but doesn’t look like it, especially when sliced and served on frilly paper doilies.

Each item listed in the menu below is linked to its recipe, and following the menu are captioned photos that will help you envision how your beautiful table will look as everyone gathers around with gratitude.

Speaking of gratitude, I am so grateful for all of you who make my platter bloom throughout the year.  With nurturing wishes to you and yours during this holiday season and always.

~Betsy DiJulio

Blooming Platter Vegan Thanksgiving Menu 2017

Butternut Squash Lasagna (with Smokey Marinara Sauce and Kale Pesto)
Acorn Squash Stuffed with Creamy Rice and Greens Stovetop Casserole
Kale Salad with Pomegranate Balsamic Figs and Dates Topped with Smoked Almonds
Sallie’s Double Corn Fingers
3-Layer Oatmeal Pumpkin Streusel Bars
Vegan Butternut Squash Lasagna
Vegan Acorn Squash Stuffed with Creamy Rice and Greens Stovetop Casserole
Kale-Salad-with-Pomegranate-Balsamic-Marinated-Figs-and-Dates-Topped-with-Smoked-Almonds1
Vegan Kale Salad with Pomegranate Balsamic Marinated Figs and Dates Topped with Smoked Almonds
Vegan Double Corn Fingers
Vegan 3-Layer Oatmeal Pumpkin Streusel Bars
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Vegan Loaded Mexican Cornbread

Hosting a fiesta at the intersection of Chili Cornbread and Cornbread Casserole is my Loaded Mexican Cornbread. Yes, it is bursting with the unmistakable pungency of Hatch green chilies (I prefer mild over hot), but it stops short of beans and soy crumbles. Instead I load it up with corn kernels, sliced black olives, green onions, sour cream, melted butter, and cheddar-jack blend, all vegan, of course. My first attempt was too dense and moist, if you can believe that’s possible. This version is perfection, redolent of Adobo, cumin, garlic, and oregano. Enjoy it by itself with a glass of cold, non-dairy milk–or a beer–or as a side with a crisp salad or not-too-heavy soup.

I cup naturally vegan cornbread mix (I use Martha White)
1 cup naturally vegan baking mix (I use Bisquick)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegan butter, melted
1/3 cup vegan sour cream
1 teaspoon Adobo sauce from can of chilies in Adobo
1/3 cup non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-15.5 ounce can corn, drained
4 ounce can sliced black olives, drained
4 ounce can chopped green chilies, mild, drained
2 green onions, sliced
1 cup shredded vegan cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, divided (I use So Delicious cheddar-jack blend)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 10-inch skillet with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, mix cornbread mix, baking mix, baking powder, spices, and salt. In a separate large bowl, whisk together melted butter, Adobo, sour cream, non-dairy milk, vinegar, and baking soda. Add wet mixture to the dry ingredients, a third at a time. Stir in the corn, black olives, green chiles, green onion, and 2/3 cup shredded cheese. Spoon mixture evenly into prepared skillet. Sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup cheese.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until top is browned, the center springs back when pressed down, and a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve warm or room temp.

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Vegan Whole Wheat-Flax/Chia Seed Crackers

Yield: about 4 servings, but it depends on how large you cut the crackers and I like irregular shapes and sizes

If you are not a vegan baker, keep reading…this is the perfect “gateway” recipe to have you fall in love with pastry.  This dough handles beautifully–promise!  And the resulting crackers are worth a tiny bit of effort.

The inspiration for these crackers starts in a church and is, perhaps, a little unseemly.   No, they did not begin as the body of Christ; rather as ingredients eschewed by those who frequent the church’s food pantry.  Seems that the healthier, higher-end foods–chia seeds, organic cocoa powder, kale chips, etc.–are not what these folks in need seek.

So, my friend who attends the church that sponsors the food pantry will occasionally bring me those items that aren’t moving off the shelves.  You can’t imagine how large my canister of flax and chia seed meal has grown.  Needing a recipe to use up some of it and being the creatively resteless soul that I am, I decided to whip up some crackers.  Bread would have also worked, but I am far more likely to serve crackers than bread.  I love the crunch.

I did what I usually do: perused recipes endlessly online and then jettisoned all recipes and went for it, having learned some lessons along the way for which I am grateful.  I couldn’t be more pleased with the end results: how quickly this dough came together, how easilyit handled, and how tasty and perfectly textured the crackers are.  Speaking of texture, these are the ideal tender-crisp combination.  I tried both “docking,” or pricking. the surface and not, and found that the docked crackers were a bit more crispy, which I preferred.

Easy, quick, an inexpensive, these crackers would make a lovely gift from the kitchen.  Each Christmas, I gift all of the editors for whom I write with a little treat, and I think I know what next year’s will be.

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or whole wheat, all purpose, or a combination; I had the pastry flour on hand)

3 tablespoons flax seed meal, chia seed meal, or a combination (I used a combo)

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (or the spice of your choice)

3 tablespoons coconut oil

Up to 1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place all ingredients in the bowl of food processor, including about half of the water or 1/4 cup.  Pulse until the dough comes together into a tidy ball, adding remaining half of water if necessary.  On a floured surface, like a pastry board or counter, roll dough to just slightly more than 1/8-inch thick.  Using a sharp knife, cut into small or large uniform or irregular crackers, transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat (silicone mat), and prick the tops with a fork.  Bake for about 13 minutes or until lightly browned.  Place baking sheet on a wire rack and cool crackers to room temperature.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature or freeze for a later date.

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My Vegan Thai Biscuit Mini Sandwiches Win “Savory” Grand Prize in National Recipe Contest

Photo: Alisa Fleming
Photo: Alisa Fleming

And the winner is…me!

So Delcious and Go Dairy Free just announced the winners of their “Snackables” national (vegan) recipe contest and my Thai Biscuit Mini Sandwiches won the Grand Prize in the “Savory” category!  These are the perfect mini-meal, packed with flavor and nutrition and cute to boot.

This award is such an honor because I know of their high standards and rigorous vetting process.

Congrats to all winners and runner’s up!  And a huge thanks to So Delicous and Alisa Fleming of Go Dairy Free!

 

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Vegan Bangkok Biscuit Stack: Filled Coconut Red Curry-Basil Biscuits

Vegan Coconut Red Curry-Basil Biscuit Stack

Yield: 8-2 inch biscuits (recipe easily doubles)

Woa!  I’m not one to brag, but these may be a “best ever” here on The Blooming Platter…

To celebrate the release of the FREE Snackable eBook, the good folks at Go Dairy Free and So Delicious Dairy Free have teamed up again to sponsor the ultimate Snackable Recipe Contest!

Contestants may enter two recipes in the Savory, Sweet, or Sippable categories and this is my second and final Savory entry.

I have to say, myy Vegan Bangkok Biscuit Stacks are every bit as irresistible as I thought they might be when the idea popped into my head yesterday (after an unmitigated disaster of an attempt with another idea the day before!).

Winner, winner, vegan dinner?  (Er, I mean snack.)

Quick recipe note: avoid omitting the teaspoon of vinegar or vegan fish sauce as it is necessary to interact with the baking soda for proper rise…and, boy do they rise!

Vegan Bangkok Biscuit Stack

3 tablespoons vegan butter, divided

1 cup all-purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon shortening (preferably frozen)

1 tablespoon prepared Thai red curry paste

1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar or vegan fish sauce (sold as “vegetarian” in Asian markets)

Approximately 6 to 8-1 1/2 inch fresh basil or Thai basil leaves

1/3 cup So Delicious Original Coconut Milk Creamer

Pickled Veggies (recipe follows; make while biscuits bake)

Garlic Aioli (recipe follows)

1/3 cup caramelized onions or 8-2 inch grilled tofu squares, etc.

Garnish: 8 sprigs fresh basil

Preheat oven to 45o degrees.  Melt 1 tablespoon vegan butter in a 6-inch (or larger) cast iron skillet placed in oven.  Remove and set aside.  In bowl of food processor, place flour, baking soda, salt, remaining 2 tablespoons of vegan butter and shortening.  Pulse a few times until vegan butter and shortening are well-distributed throughout and dough looks like damp sand.  Add curry paste, vinegar or fish sauce, and basil leaves and pulse until basil is finely chopped.  Drizzle with coconut creamer and pulse until dough comes together in a ball and basil is minced, but still visible.   Note: you may cut the butter and shortening into flour mixture by hand, mince the basil, and mix all ingredients together with a fork if you prefer.  

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a 3/4 inch disk.  Working quickly, fold in sides like you are folding a business envelope, pat into a 3/4 inch disk, turn a quarter turn and repeat 4 more times.  Cut with a 2 inch biscuit or cookie cutter or sturdy glass.  Place each biscuit into the prepared skillet, right side down, and then flip right side up to coat both sides with butter.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove from oven and, when cool enough to handle, spread each biscuit with 1/8th of the Garlic Aioli,  1/8th of the caramelized onions or a slice of tofu, and 1/8th of the Pickled Veggies.  Serve immediately, garnished with fresh basil sprigs.

Pickled Veggies:

8 thin slices cucumber

1/3 cup shredded carrots (I purchase pre-shredded)

2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar or vegan fish sauce (sold as “vegetarian” in Asian markets)

Toss together in a small non-reactive bowl or carton and set aside.

Garlic Aioli:

3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

In a small cup, whisk together mayonnaise and garlic powder until well combined.

Snackable-Recipe-Contest-Badge

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Vegan Focaccia with Red Grapes, Roasted Acorn Squash, and Kale Pesto

Focaccia with Red Grapes, Acorn Squash, and Kale Pesto--SlicesYou can top this focaccia with anything, but I have to say that my combination of red grapes, roasted acorn squash and kale pesto is a keeper.  And it’s so pretty for Christmas.

The simple focaccia dough recipe is only slightly adpated from one in a culinary magazine that I cut out years ago, but failed to credit.  Sorry!  My only change was to add a little bit of olive oil and to correct the number of ounces in the yeast package.  The recipe calls for 2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast, but that is a 3/4 ounce package, not a 1/4 ounce package.  Details, details!

 

3/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)

3/4 ounce (2 1/2 teaspoons) package fast-acting yeast (like Rapid Rise)

1/2 teaspoon turbinado sugar

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)

1 teaspoon sea salt + more for sprinkling

1 tablespoon olive oil + more for drizzling

Red grapes, halved (in amount you choose to space about 1 inch apart)

Roasted acorn squash, cut in thin slices (enough to alternate with grapes)

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Kale pesto (use your favorite or one of mine)–amounts may vary– brought to room temperature

Lightly oil a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.  In a large bowl, stir together water, yeast, and sugar and let stand until foamy or about 5 minutes.  Gradually stir in 2 teaspoons olive oil followed by flour and salt to form a soft dough.  On a lightly floured work surface, knead dough with floured hands for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.  Shape into a ball, rub with remaining teaspoon of olive oil, and invert bowl over the top.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Then, roll out dough into a 13 x 9 inch rectangle and transfer to baking pan, pressing gently into corners.  Let dough rise, covered loosely with plastic wrap, in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Arrange grape halves and acorn squash in an attractive design over the top, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake in center of oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool focaccia in pan on a metal rack.  Dot with pesto, slice, and serve.

Focaccia with Red Grapes, Acorn Squash, and Kale Pesto

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