Vegan Smokey BBQ Chex Mix (Never fear, this addicting mix does NOT taste like BBQ potato chips!)

Smokey BBQ Chex MixAfter creating my Vegan Asian Chex Mix (read: culinary cocaine–sorry!), I was on a roll!

If you’re interested in how this amalgamation came about, keep reading.  If not, just skip straight to the addicting recipe below.

Scanning my spices for one that would be delicious but that I hadn’t seen used in a Chex Mix–which is not to say that it hasn’t been–I lit upon smoked paprika, an all-time favorite.

That led me in a BBQ direction (but not like BBQ potato chips of which I’m not fond).  Not wanting the flavor profile to scream BBQ, I chose not to add any BBQ sauce to the melted butter, but I thought that maybe an ingredient used in BBQ sauce might be the ticket, deciding upon mustard as a nice substitute for the tanginess of Worcestershire Sauce, which is not vegna but is one of the traditional ingredients in the vintage Chex Mix recipes.

And that, in turn, led to Corn Chex because corn cakes are so delicious with all things BBQ. But I combined the Corn Chex with Rice Chex because, I don’t know, it sounded southern?  Ditto the pecans.  As for the Cheerios, I added them because they are a traditional part of the mix, so to speak, and a nice shape and flavor contrast.

And, finally, I decided to provide a little contrast to all of the tangy, salty deliciousness with just a hint of maple syrup because BBQ sauce often has a hint of sweetness for balance, and maple syrup is so delectable with corn cakes.

In my mind and mouth, it all ties together beautifully.  See what you think…I ended up having to package it and give it as some belated New Year’s gifts today lest I founder myself.  See this post for a pretty packaging idea.

 

6 ups Corn Chex

6 cups Rice Chex

2 cups Cheerios (not the whole grain variety which are fairly highly sweetened)

1 cup smoked almonds

1 cup lightly roasted and salted peanuts

1 1/2 cups lightly roasted and salted chashews

1 1/2 cups pecan halves

1 cup vegan butter, melted

2 tablespoons Liquid Aminos

1 teaspoon mustard (I used stone ground)

1 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt (I use Lawry’s brand)

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Optional: 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Combine all dry ingredients in a large roasting pan.  In a medium bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients except maple syrup (avoid adding it during the baking period, as it will cause the mixture to burn because of the sugars).  Drizzle evenly over dry mix and combine, using your hands, trying to coat every piece with the butter mixture.  Place pan in center of oven and bake for 30 minutes, stirring really well from the sides and corners to the center, every 1o minutes.  Remove from oven, drizzle with maple syrup, and stir well to combine.  To cool, spread mixture out in a thin layer on kitchen counter or baking sheets lined with paper towels or brown paper grocery bags. Cool completely.  Store in airtight containers or in ziplock bags inside airtight containers for extra protection for about a week.

 

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Vegan Asian Chex Mix

Asian Chex MixSomewhere, deep in south central MS, my mother is feeling a sharp pain in her side.

From her perspective, in matters as important as food, tradition should rarely be tampered with, and that includes her “Texas Trash,” aka Chex Mix.  But, alas, her daughter is an endless culinary tinkerer and so, having had my annual fix of Mama and Papa’s vintage “Trash” over the Christmas holiday, I came home wanting to give some food gifts to my treasured local freelance clients and wanting just as much to try a new Chex Mix riff I’d been fantasizing about.  Airplane travel lends itself to such ruminations.

Though there are some four or five bastardizations–to my mother’s way of thinking–on the back of the Rice Chex box, I had in mind an Asian-inspired version that would borrow the ground Nori sheets from my delectable Vegan Hurricane Popcorn with a Twist.  Not knowing how the recipients would feel about seaweed in their Chex Mix, I went easy, creating just a subtle hint.  But if a pronounced flavor is more to your liking, use an extra sheet–or two–of Nori.

Consider yourself warned: this stuff is habit-forming.  Even my husband–who prides himself on not eating snack foods, yet his normal non-vegan diet is far from anything to brag about–loved it.  And its addictive qualities cannot be traced to one ingredient; rather to the contrasts of textures and shapes and, most especially, to the way the seasoning seeps into and adheres to certain tidbits more than others–creating a buttery richness here and a tangy saltiness there–so that no two bites taste quite the same.

Note that, as with all baked goods, the cooling process is just as important as the baking itself, so be sure not to shortcut my quick and easy instructions.

Once cool, the mix can be beautifully stored for keeping or giving in cans–coffee, nut, Pringles, etc.–wrapped in decorative paper.  For the uncoated cardboard-lined cans, like the Pringles ones that students give me, I like to place the mix in a resealable sandwich bag first.  Actually, I do it for all for extra insurance.

Go ahead, just try and resist!

 

12 cups Rice Chex (1-12 ounce box)

2 cups Wheat Chex

5 cups “Sesame Nut Mix” (I use this Kroger brand mix of sesame sticks and roasted and salted peanuts and cashews; if your grocery store does not sell something similar, just combine roughly equal amounts of the three key ingredients; substitute crispy noodles from the Asian food aisle or even thin pretzel sticks of you can’t locate sesame sticks, and add a drop or two of sesame oil to the butter mixture if desired.)

1 cup vegan butter, melted (I use Earth Balance, but this is a good opportunity for me to tout my vegan friend and fellow blogger and cookbook author, Bryanna Clark Grogan’s, homemade palm oil-free “Buttah”)

2 tablespoons soy sauce (feel free to use a “lite” variety)

2 to 3 sheets Nori, one sheet at a time torn into small pieces and ground in a spice grinder until very fine, but not quite a powder)

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

3/4 teaspoon Seasoned Salt (I use Lawry’s brand)

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Optional: pinch of red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 3oo degrees.  In a large roasting pan, combine cereal and sesame nut mix.  Stir soy sauce, Nori, nutritional yeast, seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and optional red pepper flakes into melted butter.  Drizzle evenly over dry mix and combine, using your hands, trying to coat every piece with the butter mixture.  Place pan in center of oven and bake for 30 minutes, stirring really well from the sides and corners to the center, every 1o minutes.  To cool, spread mixture out in a thin layer on kitchen counter or baking sheets lined with paper towels or brown paper grocery bags. Cool completely.  Store in airight containers or in ziplock bags inside airtight containers for extra protection for about a week.

 

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Vegan Corn Maque-Choux

Corn Maque-ChouxHaving stayed in the New Orleans French Quarter with my family over Thanksgiving, I returned home with Corn Maque-Choux on my mind.  None of the versions that tempted me on menus there were vegan, so I was obsessed with giving it a try in my own kitchen.

Though corn is quite the summer vegetable, I was craving this Cajun mainstay, so I used frozen corn, and it was delish.  Many versions of this recipe abound so, after consulting several, I just started cooking from memory.

I rather like my take on this standard: slightly spicy from dried pepper flakes and a hint of smoked paprika, in addition to the requisite fresh thyme.  Plus, with it’s flecks of red bell pepper and green onion, it looks very festive for the holidays.

Plannig to make it a while ago–but becoming sidetracked–and having already purchased the produce, I realized I still had it on hand, yet I am heading out of town on Monday.  So, I had to use it up and, in a flash, realized that the Maque-Choux packaged in small glass canning jars that I happened to have would make a very festive food gift for guests at a luncheon I was privileged to attend at noon.  (Stay tuned for recipes from close friend Trish Pfeifer’s inspired meal.)  So, I went into high gear, also making a Vegan Fresh Fennel and Cranberry Chutney and bird ornaments from recycled Kleenex boxes–tucking all three with alittle tissue inside holiday gift bags–before going to yoga at 9:30 (okay, I was late: 9:40!).  Thank goodness Minnie wakes me up early!

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 bell peppers, diced (I used a red and an orange, but both red or 1 red and 1 green is nice too)

Sea salt

4 celery hearts, diced

6 green onions, sliced

2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced

2-12 ounce packages frozen corn (about 5 1/3 cups)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (or to taste)

1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup plain coconut creamer

1/4 cup unsweetened soymilk

Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Add bell peppers and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring occastionally, for about 3 minutes or until softened.  Add celery, and do the same.  Stir in green onions and garlic and saute, stirring frequently, for another minute or two.  Add corn and cook, still stirring occasionally, until defrosted and heated through.  Sprinkle with pepper, smoked paprika, dried pepper flakes and flour, and stir to combine.  Drizzle creamer and soymilk over the top and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes or until flour no longer tastes raw and mixture is thickened.  Adjust seasoning if necessary and serve or spoon into an airtight container(s) and refrigerate.

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Vegan Fresh Fennel and Cranberry Chutney

Fresh Fennel and Cranberry RelishToday, I woke up and suddenly realized that–having been preocupied for the last week–I had a little leftover fresh produce in the fridge, but I’m headed out of town for a week, and it would spoil before I returned.

Invited to a Christmas luncheon at noon, I decided to whip together a couple of things to give as gifts to the other guests.  Fortunately, I had a set of 4 ounce canning jars that were perfect filled with the chutney, tucked into small gift bags with an additional jar of Vegan Corn Maque-Choux, a little tissue, and simple little bird ornaments that I also whipped together using recycled Kleenex boxes with beautiful patterns.

It was a busy morning, as I still got to yoga at 9:30 (well, 9:40!), and to the lovely luncheon at the home of close friend, Trish Pfeifer!  (Stay tuned for some of her delcious recipes!)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 1/2 cups diced fresh fennel (1 bulb + a little bit of the stalks)

Sea Salt

2 to 3 large cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup turbinado sugar

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup dry white wine (I used pinot grigio)

In a large cast iron skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high.  Add onion, fennel, and a pinch of salt, and saute, stirring frequently, for about 5 mintues or until softened.  Add garlic and saute, stirring, for about 30 seconds.  Add cranberriesa and sugar, stirring until dissolved.  Add water and vinegar and cook, stirring frequently, until most of moisture is evaporated, or about 10 minutes, lowering heat if necessary.  Stir in wine, and let simmer, still stirring frequently, for anoter 10 minutes or until thick and pulpy.  Adjust salt, sugar or vinegar if desired.  Remove from heat, let cool, place into an airtight containers(s), and tie with ribbon and a star anise, if desired.

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Vegan Spiced Cranberry-Orange Tarts in Phyllo Shells

Cranberry TartsMy dear artist friend, Sheila Giolitti’s, cranberry tarts were delicious at an intimate Christmas luncheon I was privileged to attend yesterday. Try these festive two-bite desserts at home: the filling was basically homemade cranberry sauce–just use the recipe on the back of the bag of cranberries–with orange zest and spices–use ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves or whatever you liked–spooned into purchased and baked phyllo shells (buy them frozen; most brands are vegan, but check the ingredients). Flaked coconut was the perfect snowy topping.

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Vegan “Peeps” (Chocolate-Dipped Almond Paste-Stuffed Date “Birds” Complete with a Cashew Beak)–Perfect for Spring!

Peeps in Nest with Wooden EggsYield: 8 Peeps

These “Peeps” that I created–which I think look more like Toucans!–were inspired by “Ugly Ducklings” sold at a local Mediterranean restaurant called Azar’s.

I wanted to take the store-bought ones to an Easter dinner on Sunday, but the restaurant was closed and I could find no recipe, so I decided to “wing it,” so to speak.  Fortunately, the ingredients are few.

I’m so glad I did, as they are super simple and so unique!  I apologize for not having them ready to share with you in advance of Easter, but they are nice for spring in general, and certainly next year!

Resting in decorative cupcake liners and tucked, along with softly colored wooden eggs,  into their straw nest, they looked peepin’ adorable and were also a rave in the taste department!

They seem especially appropriate for spring, but the ingredients are pretty season-less, so enjoy all year when a festive presentation and a little decadent bite is in order.

 

Approximately 1/2 cup (or slightly less) almond paste (I purchase it in a can on the baking aisle of the grocery store)

16 pitted dates, opened out (be sure to use fairly moist ones)

1-9 or 10 ounce package vegan chocolate chips

8 whole roasted and lightly salted cashews

 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.  Using your fingers, mold a scant tablespoon of almond paste into an egg shape.  Moisten your fingers if your paste seems dry.  Then press into one of the dates, pressing another date over the top to encase the almond paste inside, forming an egg or bird body shape.  Continue with all remaining dates and almond paste.  Cover and refrigerate them for about a half hour.  Melt chocolate in microwave in a narrow deep bowl for ease of dipping.  (For 9 to 10 ounces, I have found that 1 minute on full power, a slight stir, and then 20 to 30 seconds at full power, followed by a good whisking works in my microwave.)  Pierce each date-almond paste ball with a toothpick.  One at a time, dip them into the chocolate, covering completely, and place on prepared baking sheet.  Remove toothpicks and “patch” hole with a dab of melted chocolate if need be.  Then, one at a time, dip half of each cashew into the chocolate and attach it to the top of each “body,” slightly toward one end, with the cashew “beak” curving into the body and touching at each tip–chocolate toward the center–so that it is secure.  Refrigerate for a half hour or until chocolate is hardened.  Arrange as desired and serve.

Note: you will have some chocolate left over, but when it gets low, it is difficult to coat the date-almond paste balls.

Close-Up

 

Just-Dipped Peeps
Just-Dipped Peeps

 

Nest Ready for Peeps
Nest Ready for Peeps
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Take a Stand…A Vegan Stuffed Standing Rib Roast, That Is!

DSCN2380You will love my whimsical and novel take on a standing rib roast.

When I got the idea–in response to my aunt serving an actual standing rib roast for her holiday meal–I could find no other vegan standing rib roasts online, so I had fun creating my own.

Baked in a bundt pan with rosemary sprig “bones,” my version was just featured on the inimitable Nava Atlas’s Veg Kitchen website.   “Like” VK on Facebook HERE.

It takes just a little more time in the kitchen than what most of us would prepare for a weekday meal, but it is perfect for a holiday–say, Easter or, of course the winter holidays–or a dinner party.

Just follow the link to my tasty and easy, but impressive, recipe for Vegan Standing Rib Roast with Shiitake and Kale Filling and Shiitake Gravy with your tongue firmly in your cheek!

 

 

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Blooming Platter “Vegan Q & A Tuesday” with Caryn Hartglass + Caryn’s Vegan Baked Potato Pancakes (Latkes) Recipe

Based on Inside the Actor’s Studio host’s James Lipton’s famous “Q & A”–after the Proust Questionnaire–“Vegan Q & A Tuesday” is The Blooming Platter’s  first Tuesday feature on a creative force in the vegan culinary world.  Read more about “Q & A Tuesday” HERE.

 

Caryn HartglassFeatured Force: 

Caryn Hartglass

[See below for link to Caryn’s Vegan Baked Potato Pancakes (Latkes) recipe.]

Caryn Hartglass is the founder of Responsible Eating And Living (REAL) a nonprofit organization that combines science with practical knowledge from real life experiences to help people understand the affects of food choices on health and environment.  Prior to REAL, Ms. Hartglass was Executive Director of EarthSave International. She has appeared on Dr. Oz, Geraldo At Large, 20-20 and CNN, and hosts the weekly IT’S ALL ABOUT FOOD show on the Progressive Radio Network. Ms. Hartglass, with Bachelor and Masters degrees in Chemical Engineering from Bucknell University, worked in the semiconductor industry for 20 years.  A classically trained singer, she has performed in opera and musicals in the United States and abroad and has won two international voice competitions (France, South Africa).

More about Caryn, her nonprofit REAL, her radio show and her newest project The Swingin’ Gourmets can be found at the links below:

http://CarynHartglass.com

http://ResponsibleEatingAndLiving.com

http://prn.fm/shows/lifestyle-shows/its-all-about-food

http://SwinginGourmets.com

1. What is your favorite culinary word?

Aroma.  I love returning home and smelling the aroma of the previous meal, the pleasant fragrance of teas, baked goods, soups, whatever has been prepared.  I love the delicious smells while cooking – caramelized onions, a whiff of herbs and spices.  Our neighbors always tell us they are envious of the aromas coming out from our apartment.

2. What is your least favorite culinary word?

Deboning!  As someone who has not eaten animals in over 25 years, this term is unpleasant on so many levels.  Just visualizing the process, I wonder how anyone could do it without thinking about who they are doing it to.

3. What about cooking turns you on?

Creating beautiful, delicious, nourishing, health-promoting dishes that people enjoy eating.

4. What about cooking turns you off?

Appliances that are supposed to be convenient with bad tasting results, like the Keurig Coffee and Tea Makers. I’ll take a French press and a tea pot any day.

5. What sound or noise in the kitchen or around the dinner table do you love?

The silence of people focused on eating something delicious.  It’s best when there has been a lot of wonderful conversation, a dish is served and everything goes quiet.
6. What sound or noise in the kitchen or around the dinner table do you hate?

Complaining. I don’t like hearing people complain – about anything.

7. What makes you curse in the kitchen?

I move quickly in the kitchen, sometimes too quickly. I am very annoyed with myself when I skip a step or leave out an ingredient.

8. What cooking profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Food manufacturing.  My partner Gary and I are always talking about vegan products we would like to manufacture.

9. What cooking profession would you not like to do?

Working in a fast food, chain restaurant, (not vegan of course!) serving burgers, soda, greasy fries, junk food.

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

“You were right, it is all about food!”

 

Caryn Hartglass's Baked Potato LatkesVegan Baked Potato Pancakes (Latkes), gluten-free

Just in time for Chanukah or “Thanksgivikah” since Chanukah and Thanksgiving fall on the same day this year, I offer one of my very favorite recipes, Baked Potato Pancakes. I am not a religious person but I love holidays and holiday foods.  We’ve been making potato pancakes in my family for decades.  First I figured out how to make them vegan, without eggs. Then I learned how to make them gluten-free.  And finally I came up with a great way to may them without frying them and using all that oil!  This recipe is so good I made a food show on how to make them.  Recipe and food show video can be found HERE.
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Vegan Savory Mexican Black Bean Cupcakes with Sweet Potato Frosting Made Go Dairy Free’s “Big List of Ghoulishly Good Dairy-Free Halloween Recipes” for 2013!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am so excited for my Vegan Savory Mexican Black Bean Cupcakes with Sweet Potato Frosting to have made “The Big List of Ghoulishly Good Dairy-Free Halloween Recipes” for 2013 on the Go Dairy Free website!

I created this recipe last Halloween and I’ve never run across anything else like it before or since.  Beautiful, but simple, these savory cupcakes are like eating your deliciously moist sides and bread all in one festive little package.

For the rest of the list of beverages, snacks, savories, and sweets, click HERE.

Happy Halloween!

 

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