Savory Parmesan-Fennel Shortbread (vegan & plant-based)

Savory Parmesan-Fennel Shortbread make every hour happy!

Few things are better than these tasty rounds–buttery, tangy, and crisp-tender–with a glass of wine or non-alcoholic Proxies (pictured is “Pastiche”). Made by Acid League of teas, fruit juices, vinegars, bitters, herbs and other unexpected ingredients to pair with food, these wine alternatives have an “intoxicating” nose.

A Gift from Your Kitchen

An easy and welcome gift, the Shortbreads pack beautifully inside coffee filter-lined tins which I shared this holiday season with my freelance editors/publishers/clients and other professionals who provide service of inestimable value throughout the year.

On December 27, I contributed a dozen shortbread rounds to a happy hour for two (pictured) at the beautiful home of Angela Phillips. We also enjoyed her air fried brussels sprouts and chestnuts warmed with just a hint of olive oil.

Why Proxies?

Angela lives 8 or so miles away from us and, despite splitting the entire bottle of Proxies, I could drive home safely. These bottles really are “free of alcohol, full of complexity,” but are NOT dealcoholized–and are perfect when you want something beautiful, interesting, and exciting to sip on its own or, especially, with food, but prefer not to imbibe.

The pair of us drank the entire bottle of Pastiche, at only 75 to 100 calories total for each of us. Pastiche is a white wine alternative, made of the following: (FRUIT) Lychee, Pineapple, Peach, Gewurztraminer Grapes; (ACIDITY) Rose Vinegar; (SPICE) Pink Peppercorn, Amchur, Galangal, Clove; and (BODY) Bai Jian White Tea, Oolong Tea, Mosaic Hops. Proxies may remind you a bit of Kombucha but without the assertive fermentation and with many more layered and subtle flavor notes.

Savory Parmesan + Fennel Shortbread

Yield: approximately 4 dozen

(Note: these are also tasty without the parm.)

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup Follow Your Heart or your favorite plant-based brand shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup plant-based butter (I like Myokos), broken into chunks
1/2 cup olive oil (may need slightly more or less)

Place first 7 ingredients in food processor and pulse a few times to break up fennel seeds. Add parmesan and pulse a couple more times. Add butter and pulse to distribute. With motor running, drizzle in olive oil, stopping occasionally, until dough comes together, but is not sticky. It should be fairly firm, like roll-and-cut cookie dough. Form into 3 to 4 logs, approximately 1 1/4 to 1 1/2″ in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper. Slice rolls into 1/3-inch disks, place 1″ apart on baking sheet, and bake 18-20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Package in airtight containers.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn #vegansofinstagram #vegansoffacebook #vegansofvirginia #thebloomingplatter #plantbasedfoodgift #veganfoodgift #plantbasedshortbread #veganshortbread #savoryshortbread #Proxies #acidleague

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Chick-Un Pot Pie Chex Mix–Next Level Chex! (vegan & plant-based)

Each Christmas, I make gifts for freelance clients and other professionals who have provided services to me during the year. I either package my paternal Mam-ma’s three kinds of Christmas cookies that she perennially made for our family or my latest and greatest Chex Mix in tins from the Dollar Tree (such a steal).

I have developed so many varieties of Chex Mix that picking a favorite would be like choosing a favorite dog. Just search “Chex Mix” here on the Blooning Platter for a mix for every mood.

This year’s iteration was inspired by all the ingredients and flavors of pot pie–even the pie crust, which is perhaps the best part–but also carrots, cirn, onions, potatoes, and peas.

When you whip up a batch–ideal to have in the oven while you are doing other tasks, as it only needs three stirs over the course of an hour–remember to thaw and bake the pie crust pieces first. I remove a crust from its foil pan and thaw in microwave, as collapsing is exactly what you want in order to cut it.

Enjoy this mix for Happy Hour and car trips, as well as gift-giving.

Happy Holidays!

Chick-Un Pot Pie Chex Mix

1/2 cup vegan butter, cut into chunks
1 tablespoons Liquid Aminos vegan Worcestershire, or soy sauce
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon ground celery seed
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 vegan pie crust, thawed, cut into small rectangles, and baked at 450 degrees for 10 to 13 minutes or until golden brown
6 ounces (half of 12-ounce box) Corn Chex
8 ounces (2-4 ounce bags) potato sticks or straws
1-7.25 can roasted pecan halves
5 ounces (about half of a 9.9-ounce can) Wasabi peas
Approximately 1.5 ounces carrot-flavored & orange-colored chips from bag of veggie snack chips like Good Natured brand Veg-ables (approximately one-third 4.5-ounce bag)
1-6 ounce can French Fried Onions

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Combine butter, Liquid Aminos, and all spices in large roasting pan and place in oven to melt butter. Stir to combine. Gently stir in remaining ingredients, one at a time. Roast for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven, cool, and package as desired in airtight containers.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn #vegansofinstagram #vegansoffacebook #vegansofvirginia #thebloomingplatter #plantbasedchickenpotpie #veganchickenpotpie #plantbasedchexmix #veganchexmix #chexmix
plantbasedsnack #vegansnack
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Almond Joy Dates (vegan & plant-based)

Almond Joy Dates are super quick, easy, and luscious bite-size bundles of joy and healthful decadence made by a dear friend, Sharon Lee Clohessy, for my birthday.

Simply sweeten plant-based cream cheese with natural sugar and coconut, tuck inside dates, and top with chopped chocolate-covered almonds. That’s it!

Serve on a platter, if you don’t devour them first, with alternating whole dates garnished with a few of the whole chocolate-covered almonds.

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Sichuan Chex Mix with Hot Chili Oil (vegan & plant-based)

Yield: 4 quarts (16 cups or 1 gallon)

Every Christmas, my late mother made traditional Chex Mix. She would not be at all happy with my messing with tradition.

With apologies to my mother, this year’s vegan Sichuan Chex Mix is inspired by my Chinese obsession from Judy’s Sichuan in Virginia Beach, VA: Tofu Braised in Hot Chili Oil. Redolent of garlic, ginger, and chilies, this dish features 4 other key ingredients: fried tofu and stir fried jalapeños, red and green bell pepper, and peanuts over Jasmin rice.

I think, though I am not certain, that an elusive flavor in the dish is lent by Sichuan Peppercorn which I purchase st the Asian market and grind myself. Warm, but not hot (to me), this seasoning also adds a very temporary, characteristic, and pleasant lip numbing sensation. The Chex mix is delush with or without.

Seasoning Mix:
1/2 Cup vegan butter
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 tablespoons Fried Chili in Oil (sold in a jar on Kroger’s Asian aisle)
2 teaspoons grated ginger (I purchase it in a squeeze jar)
1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 tablespoon Onion Powder

Optional: 1 to 3 teaspoons ground Sichuan Peppercorn

Cereal Mix:
7 cups Rice Chex cereal
5 cups pretzel sticks
*3.5 ounces crispy fried onions in bag, carton, or can
*3.5 ounces crispy jalapeños in a bag
*3.5 ounces crispy red bell pepper or beets in a bag or carton
4 ounces roasted and salted edamame
1 cup roasted and salted peanuts

*I use Fresh Gourmet brand from Kroger. I wanted bell pepper, but couldn’t find them in two stores, so the beets added that red, sweet, and earthy element I wanted.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Melt butter in large roasting pan in preheating oven. Stir in remaining Seasoning Mix ingredients followed by all Cereal Mix ingredients, coating evenly. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely and package in airtight containers.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn #plantbasedsichuan #vegansichuan #plantbasedchexmix #veganchexmix
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Vegan Kentucky Bluegrass Chex Mix: Bourbon, “Bacon,” & Pecans

My favorite Chex Mix recipe is whichever one I have just created. So this rich mix is my current favorite. It was created for a bourbon-loving friend’s birthday but enjoy it for any occasion or no occasion at all.

Casting around for a logic behind ingredient selection, I decided to go with other flavors associated with the Bluegrass State in addition to Bourbon: bacon and pecans.  Bacos are vegan, though they’re not necessarily health food, so that choice was easy.

I was going to use Rye Chex, but you can’t find them anymore, or I couldn’t, and I even searched online, so I went with wheat. The cheese crackers and fried onions are because, well, I just love those flavors with smoky bourbon, smokier bacon, and sweet, earthy pecans.

Plus, the cheese crackers lend some color contrast. Brown Chex Mix may taste great, but it doesn’t do much in the appearance department.

The Cheerios and pretzels are for shape and texture contrast and Chex Mix just isn’t Chex Mix without both where I come from.

1 cup vegan butter

1/3 cup bourbon

2 tablespoons Liquid Aminos

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon celery seed

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 jar Bacos (they are vegan!)

16 ounces pecan halves

4 cups Cheerios

3 cups pretzel sticks

3 cups Wheat Chex

1-6 ounce box Earth Balance Cheese Squares

1-6 ounce can fried onions

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Melt butter in oven in a large roasting pan, carefully remove from the oven, start animating ingredients, and roast for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely in store in airtight containers.

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

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Vegan Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats

Pumpkin luvahs, do you feel me?!

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Spice Rice Krispie Treats
Yield: 1 dozen (approximately 170 calories each)

I don’t think my newest recipe needs much of a preamble except to say, what are you waiting for?

4 tablespoons vegan butter
10 ounces vegan marshmallows (I use Dandie brand)
6 cups rice cereal (I actually use Erewhon brown rice but you could use the Rice Krispies brand)
Pinch sea salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
6 tablespoons pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling
Optional garnish: 12 pecan halves

Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake papers and set aside. In a large saucepan over medium to low heat, melt butter and marshmallows, stirring continually. Vegan marshmallows melt more slowly than regular marshmallows, so be patient and keep stirring with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, stir in remaining ingredients, except pecans, until completely combined, and divide evenly among cupcake cups, pressing down firmly. Garnish each with a pecan half if desired. Cool to room temperature and store in refrigerator In an airtight container.

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

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Vegan Reduced-Calorie Caramel-Cashew Popcorn with Chocolate Drizzle

Let’s be honest…this is an outrageously delicious occasional splurge, not health food, despite being vegan. I have reduced the calories by using Skinny Pop, Stevia Baking Blend and Smart Balance Light, but I am not going to share the calorie count because it is still alot. Make a batch and enjoy a little to satisy your craving, but then share small bags with friends, as I did.

4.4 ounce bag Skinny Pop popcorn
1 cup roasted and lightly salted cashew halves and pieces
1/2 cup roasted and lightly salted almonds
3/4 cup Smart Balance Light (made with Flaxseed Oil–other SB are not necessarily vegan)
1 cup Stevia Baking Blend
2 tablespoons molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Chocolate Drizzle
1 cup vegan dark chocolate chunks or chips
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with waxed paper, parchment paper, or Silpat and set aside on wire rack.  Combine popcorn and nuts in large roasting pan.

In medium saucepan, combine Smart Balance, Stevia, molasses, corn syrup, and sea salt.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Drizzle over popcorn and nuts, stir to combine, and bake for 50-60 minutes, stirring every 15.  Spoon onto prepared baking sheet and cool completely.

Melt cocolate with oil in microwave safe bowl in microwave in 30-second intervals, whisking after each. Transfer melted chocoalte to sandwich bag, seal, snip corner, and drizzle over caramel corn in a zig-zag motion. You may alternatively use a reusable pastry bag fitted with circular tip.

Let sit at room temperature about 3 hours or until chocolate is set. Store in an airtight container or sandwich bags.

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

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Cuban-Inspired Chex Mix

 

Recently, I heard an interview on NPR with Anya von Bremzen, the author of Paladares: Recipes Inspired by the Private Restaurants of Cuba, and I was completely captivated by the tales of resourcefulness, resilience, and innovation, not to mention the kinship the Russian author feels with her Cuban socialist brethren, especially in terms of hunger and deprivation.  I highly recommend.  The photos are stunning, the stories engaging, and the recipes, while not necessarily vegan, are easily veganized.

This isn’t one of them, but it is inspired by the flavors of Cuba, some of which we have learned to appreciate thanks to Juan and Barbara Gelpi.  I gifted them with this batch–though I kept a little stash (which instantly disappeared)–and Juan pronounced that it tasted “pretty Cuban,” which is quite a compliment coming from him, an accomplished vegan cook with Cuban roots.

After perusing the cookbook, I new I wanted to include the flavors of orange and cumin which featured prominently in one of the recipes.  But I also knew that I wanted to nod to their very simple staples of rice, black beans, corn, potatoes, onion, and plantains.  Granted, I ended up using an Asian black bean product, but I like some soy in my Chex Mixes and have never felt that that alone made them taste Asian, that is, unless I wanted them to and punched up the Chinese, Japanese, or Thai flavors with other ingredients.

I think you will love this addicting iteration.  It doesn’t have a lot of contrasting colors, but the flavor will more than make up for any lack of color.  For many others, just search “Chex Mix” here on The Blooming Platter.

1/2 cup vegan butter

Juice and zest of one large orange

2 tablespoons black bean garlic sauce (sold in the Asian section of the grocery store; make sure it is vegan)

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

8 cups Rice Chex

6.5 oz toasted corn snacks

4.5 ounces plantain strips

4 ounces Potato Sticks

2.8 ounces crispy fried onions

1 cup roasted and salted cashews

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  While oven heats place vegan butter in a large roasting pan and place inside oven to melt butter.  Remove from oven and whisk in orange juice and zest, black bean garlic sauce, cumin, and garlic and onion powders.  Stir in remaining ingredients in order given.  Roast for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven, cool, and package in an airtight container(s).

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Vegan Ro*tel “Velveeta” Dip or Sauce
The BEST Hot Vegan Cheese Dip or Sauce
Get Your Super Bowl Game On!

This is the old school recipe my way…

And hopefully I am not posting this too late for your Super Bowl festivities.

Recently, a local vegan bakery advertised their vegan “chick-un” nugget platter with “cheese” sauce for the Super Bowl.  I was curious about the sauce because, fairly recently in researching vegan cheese sauces online, there was a baffling array of sauces made with potatoes, eggplant, cashews and more.  But I was highly skeptical and  wondered to myself at the time, “Why not just melt some vegan cheese?”   And I shied away from experimenting.  But, Friday, I purchased some of the advertised sauce on the way to school to enjoy with my lunch at my desk.  It was a nice texture and lovely color, but it tasted oddly of garlic and mustard, ingredients I have used in vegan cheese spreads, but better camouflaged than that. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t taste convincingly like cheese.

So, I looked up the old recipe from my childhood–10 ounces of Ro*tel tomatoes and 1 pound of Velveeta–and purchased some Ro*tel yesterday on my grocery store run.  The cheese I had on hand.  Velveeta is so processed that it always reminded me of what would happen if orange vinyl were sold in blocks, so I figured that vegan cheese would be a shoe-in.  This morning I melted it in the microwave with the So Delicious vegan shredded cheeses I had on hand–both cheddar and cheddar-jack–and I was right!  I needed look no further for my go-to cheese sauce.  And, shamefully, I fantasized almost all the way through my yoga class, buying some jalapeno-lime corn chips on the way home and diving in.

Granted, this is not health food folks.  It is an occasional splurge.  And with the price of vegan cheese, it’s not cheap.  But it is super simple, lightening fast, and delicious.  It contains no nuts as some cheese sauces do, but it does contain soy.  However, soy is not even a whisper of a problem for me and hopefully not for you.

Plus, I can think of a million ways to use it.  It is hard to beat, plain, as a hot dip for chips.  But why not add corn, black beans, green chilies, vegan sausage, cooked diced potato, or some of all and enjoy it as a chunkier dip, as a sauce for nachos, a filling for enchiladas, or even as a base for a casserole, say potato and Poblano?  Or simply kick it up with some cumin, coriander, chili powder, or lime juice?

While your wheels are turning, why not make a batch and munch on it with some crispy chips?

Vegan Ro*tel “Velveeta” Dip

1 10-ounce can Ro*tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies, mild or spicy

1 pound shredded vegan cheese (I like So Delicious cheddar and cheddar-jack sold in 8 ounce packages)

Optional garnish: chopped fresh garnish

Place in a microwave safe bowl or a double boiler and heat until melted, stirring frequently, approximately 8 minutes.  Whisk for a smoother finished product.  Serve warm with chips and a sprinkling of chopped fresh cilantro.



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