My Grandmother’s (vegan) Atendas–Not-too-Sweet Roll-and-Cut Cookies–THE BEST

Mam-ma's AttendasRoll and cut cookies aren’t just for Christmas anymore…

These family favorites hail from my late paternal grandmother. Not a sugar cookie and not a sand tart–they are their own special thing–she shipped them from Houston to wherever we were spending Christmas, or kept them for our arrival at her house. When she moved to MS, we sometimes made them together. And after she passed away, we have kept the tradition alive in MS and VA.

Often, I have made them for gifts, packaged in tins from the Dollar Tree and tied with festive ribbon.  Practically legendary, they were the subject of a food feature I wrote for The Virginian-Pilot, and my sister and I included them in the program we created for Mam-ma’s funeral, so the tradition could spread beyond our family.

Not to sweet, my family prefers them a tiny bit over-browned. These cookies freeze and ship beautifully.

1 pound vegan butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
Vegan egg substitute to equal 5 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 cups all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two baking sheets and set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs/egg substitutes, one at a time, until well combined. Beat in vanilla and baking powder.

With mixer on low, add flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing just until dough forms. It should be tender, but not sticky, and hold its shape nicely.

Working with small amounts of dough at a time (about 1/8th), on a lightly floured work surface, roll to about a scant 1/4-inch thick and cut with favorite cookie cutters. Place cookies about 1-inch apart on prepared pans and bake about 13 minutes or until golden brown, rotating pans halfway through.

Cool cookies slightly on pans, and then remove to racks to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough. Store in airtight tins or containers.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Festive Vegan Wine-Poached Pears with Wine Reduction, Coconut Cream, and Pomegranate Garnish

Wine Poached Pears with Coconut Cream SauceSince my husband passed away on July 30, I don’t eat or cook as much as I once did.  But when I do, I try to make it extra-special as with this beautifully festive, deeply flavorful, but not-too-sweet dessert.

It is liable to be the prettiest guest with the best taste at your holiday table.

Wine Poached Pears

1 bottle (750 ml) vegan shiraz or other red wine (check out Barnivore for a nice list)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 medium orange, cut into 6 slices

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 cup sugar (I use demerera)

4 tablespoons maple syrup, divided

4 ripe pears, preferably with stems on for best eye-appeal

Coconut Cream (recipe follows)

Pomegranate seeds (life is too short–and, trust me, I know, to seed a pomegranate, so I buy the seeds in a carton; but here are simple directions for seeding your own)

Optional garnish: 4 star anise pods

Place all ingredients, except 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, in a large (4 quart) pot, partially covered, and bring to a simmer over medium-high.  Meanwhile, cut a thin slice from the bottom of each pear so that it will sit upright.  Using a mellon baller, core from the bottom to remove seeds and any membrane.  Then carefully place each pear, on its side, into the simmering wine and simmer about 25 minutes, turning after 10 to 15 minutes, or until very tender but not breaking down. Adjust heat, if necessary, to maintain a perky simmer.  Remove pears to a container or serving platter.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons maple syrup to poaching liquid, orange slices and cinnamon stick and boil, uncovered, until reduced by about half.  Liquid should be syrupy but pourable and will thicken as it cools.

For each serving, place an orange slice on each dessert plate, top with a pear, and spoon some of the red wine reduction over the top and around the base.  Follow with the Cococnut Cream.  Garnish with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds and, if desired, a star anise pod.

 

Coconut Cream:

1 cup coconut cream (1/2 of 15.5 ounce can; note: if cream and liquid are separated, remove both, whisk or process together, and measure out 1 cup, refrigerating remainder for another use)

1 tablespoon sugar (I use demerera)

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Seeds of 1 vanilla bean pod (or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Zest of 1/2 lemon

Place all ingredients, except lemon zest, in small microwave safe bowl, whisk together, and heat for 2 to 3 minutes in 1-minute increments, whisking after each, until thickened to a sauce consistency.  Whisk in lemon zest.

 

 

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Vegan Smoky Roasted Pumpkin Seeds with Nutritional Yeast, Dried Orange Zest, and Seaweed–a subtle flavor combination that will change your life!

Smoky Roasted Pumpkin Seeds with Nutritional Yeast, Dried Orange Zest and SeaweedYield: 2 pounds nuts

This flavor combination is a nod to by my beloved Hurricane Popcorn, which was inspired by the Hawaiian mainstay.

 

1/4 cup vegan butter (you can subsitute olive oil, but the flavor won’t be as rich)

2 pounds raw pumpkin seeds (I purchase two 1 pound bags from Trader Joe’s)

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon Nori powder or dulce flakes (to make Nori powder, break up and process a Nori sheet in a spice grinder)

1 teaspoon onion powder (or garlic powder for a slightly different, but equally delicious, flavor)

1 teaspoon dried minced orange zest (I purchase it prepared on the spice aisle)

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter in oven in 9 x 13″ roasting pan.  Remove from oven and add all ingredients, sprinkling dry ingredients over the whole surface, and stirring to evenly coat seeds with butter and other ingredients.  Roast for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from oven, cool in pan on a wire rack, and package in airtight containers.

These nuts will make a tasty and highly sought after holiday gift from your kitchen…if you don’t eat them all first!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Vegan Peeps for Easter or Anytime This Spring

Vegan PeepsI am SO sorry for being neglectful of my blog!  The spring at most high schools, including in art departments, is especially busy.  Plus, last weekend, I was honored to serve as a Council Chaperone for a favorite student (one of many, many) at our school’s amazing Leadership Workshop at Triple-R Ranch from Friday to Sunday.  This week was the last of the quarter, so grades had to be posted by 2:30 p.m. yesterday, but we taught all day instead of having a “Teacher Records Day” because of our district’s Snow Day Make-Up plan.  And I leave shortly to visit my family for a week.  Whew!

But, I did want to post this recipe for Vegan Peeps for Easter–I hope it’s not too late–before I “hop” on a plane.  With the few ingredients on hand, they go together quickly and would be fun to do with kids or a group of friends.

These birds travel nicely nested in a bowl, as I took them to some friends’ house for an Easter dinner last year.

We joke about them looking like Easter Toucans. 🙂

Happy Spring!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Vegan St. Patrick’s Day: A Roasted Asparagus Sammie and a Grasshopper Pie!

It finally feels like spring though, don’t get me wrong, I adore winter with its bare bones and harsh beauty, but it is nice to step outsdie without my body tensing up.  Actually, it does in a kind of conditioned response, but then relaxes again immediately.

So, with spring veg like asparagus on my mind and St. Patty’s Day tomorrow, I thought I’d re-post a Vegan Puff Pastry Sandwich Filled with Roasted Asparagus, Green Pea Hummus and Vegan Orange-Chipotle Mayonnaise that I created one year especially for the occasion, and a delish mint-chocolate Vegan Grasshopper Pie, kindly posted by Tofutti, that I created another year, also for this greenest of holidays.

Yes, with its layers, the sammie is a little more effort than the typical BUT it is worth it.  And you can whip up the humms and mayo in a flash while the asparagus roasts and the puff pastry bakes.

Get your leprechaun on!

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Sharon Tanner’s (Veganized) Fruitcake–This is NOT your grandma’s fruitcake!

Yield:  3-6 x 3.5 loafs

Sharon's Vegan Fruitcake 2Forget everything you thought you knew about fruitcakes, the cake everyone loves to hate…

To say this is the best fruitcake I have ever eaten would not be saying much…you’ve heard the joke about there being only one fruitcake in the world and it is just passed around year after year?

However, this indescribably moist cake may be one of the Top 5 cakes I have ever eaten, period.  Okay, maybe 10 ’cause there are a lot of delectable cakes out there.  But this one is like no other.

My dear friend, Sharon Tanner, an excellent cook, and her brother, with professional cooking experience, decided one year that, surely, there had to be a way to make a fruitcake that people would actually wanted to eat.  I mean, come on, why should fruit, nuts, flour, sugar, etc. not taste delicious in combination?  So they began experimenting and arrived at a recipe so intensely delicious–it packs a wallop as she says–that they even considered selling them at one time.  I, for one, would line up to purchase.

Instead, though, she generously shared her recipe with me and gave me permission to share with you.  Originally, the cake was not vegan, but she asked me how I would veganize it so that she could make me and a couple of other friends mini-loaves.  I recommended that, for every egg, she substitute 1/4 cup moisture of some kind, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.  She did, using her homemade apple butter (apple butter contains no “butter”) as the moisture, though it is readily available in grocery stores.  Butter was never an issue because, according to Sharon, “eliminating butter makes the cakes better, denser and they hold their shape and slice much better.”  When all is said and done, there is no way the non-vegan version could be any better than this vegan one.

What’s the secret?  There are a few.  One is that this cake contains NO candied or crystalized fruit nor maraschino cherries.  Nada.  But it is chock full of dried fruits, which points to another secret: a combination of various dried fruits for subtle flavor notes.  And the second is the amount of nuts and, again, the variety of types.  Sharon recommends “Cherries, cranberries, raisins, dates, prunes, pineapple, blueberries, apricots in any combination. I think it’s best heavy on the cherries and should include pineapple.  Mixed nuts can be heavy on walnuts, but can include pecans, almonds and Brazil nuts.”

So, with no further ado…ta-da, a fruitcake that will have ’em beggin’ for more!

3 cups dried (not candied!) fruit, finely chopped
2 1/2 to 3 cups mixed nuts, finely chopped
3/4 cup flour
3/4 sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup apple butter with spices (prepared or homemade)
1 tablespoon of vanilla
4 to 6 tablespoons rum, divided
Note: fruit and nut pieces should be slightly smaller than a pencil eraser, according to SHaron.
Line 3-6 x 3.5″ loaf pans with greased parmchment paper and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine dried fruits and nuts.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.  Sprinkle over fruits and nuts, toss to combine, and then fold in apple butter and vanilla.  It will eventually all stick together, but you may sprinkle in a touch of water if needed to help all of the ingredients combine, as the batter is very forgiving.  Moisten hands with water and press 1/3 of the batter into each pan.  Bake 50 to 60 minutes; the cakes will puff a bit and then settle as they cool.  Once they have cooled enough to handle, remove them from the pans, and douse them with 2 tablespoons rum on all sides.   Wrap well in waxed paper, leave unrefrigerated, and in about 2 days, unwrap and douse them again with 2 more tablespoons of rum, making sure to soak the bottoms, as well.  If possible, 2 days later, unwrap and do a third and final dousing of rum, rewrap, and then serve the next day or shortly thereafter.  Delicious served at room temperature or slightly heated.  Note:  one of Sharon’s friend’s mother recommends using apple brandy instead of rum and keeping a slice of raw apple wrapped for a bit with each cake.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Print Friendly, PDF & Email