This moist and fudgy cake is winter incarnate thanks to pear puree in the batter and chai tea spices in the glaze. It is also deliciously vegan and plant-based.
Gild this lily with dried edible flowers and cinnamon sticks and it becomes Valentine’s Day incarnate, sweet-but-not-too. For every day, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and a few chopped nuts would be just right.
Find my recipe at https://www.tofutti.com/recipe-blog/tofutti-dairy-free-vegan-chocolate-loaf with a big thanks to Tofutti, who commissioned this beauty.
Beer Bread in a Microwave Mug–with garlic and parmesan (vegan & plant-based)
Yield: 1 serving per mug
I created this recipe while snowed in period it wasn’t so much that I was afraid to drive on the snow, though there was that, there was that, but I just didn’t want to splash mud and salt all over my car. I made this cute, moist, and flavorful bread with what I had on hand. And will be making it throughout the winter… and warmer months as well.
1 tablespoon vegan butter, divided (I use Myokos) 1/2 cup flour Pinch sea salt Pinch garlic powder Optional: pinch dried parsley 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 cup beer (I use Bud Light; identify vegan beers on Barnivore) 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon shredded vegan Parmesan (I like Follow Your Heart)
Optional: scant pinch freshly ground black pepper
In a microwave safe mug, melt 2 teaspoons vegan butter. Remove from microwave and swirl around sides of cup. In a small bowl or cup, stir together all dry ingredients with a fork. Make a well in center and pour in beer. Stir with fork until completely combined. Stir in 1 tablespoon parmesan and melted butter. Spoon mixture into buttered mug and top with remaining teaspoon shredded parm and optional black pepper. Microwave for about 2 1/2 minutes at full power, checking after 2. If mixture still looks a little moist, continue for remaining 30 seconds. You may need to experiment with your microwave. Top with remaining teaspoon butter and serve immediately.
Though made from pantry staples, you and your guests would never guess. Rustic, but refined, this meal is company approved.
With a winter storm bearing down on 1/21/22, I invited a dear friend for an early dinner, as Bob was away and snow was starting about 8 p.m. in Eastern Virginia.
I had made the soup a day or so prior, but wanted something to go with. Green peas in the freezer suggested hummus and parsley in the fridge provided freshness. But with no tahini, I perused my newly purged and organized fridge (the previous Saturday’s project) and came up with white miso instead. Never going back!
The soup is simple, but special, courtesy cardamom, smoked paprika, and turmeric. Oh and plant-based parm!
Green Pea Hummus with Miso and Parsley
1 cup cooked fresh or thawed frozen green peas 1/2 cup loosely packed parsley, tender stems included 3 large cloves garlic 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon light miso 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper Garnish: 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 teaspoons Everything Bagel Seasoning Accompaniment: bagel chips, crackers, toasts, or fresh raw vegetables
Process together all ingredients except garnishes and accompaniments, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of Everything Bagel seasoning, and serve with accompaniment of your choice.
3 cups vegetable stock 1 small onion, diced 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 to 3 large cloves garlic, sliced
2 tablespoons hummus (I had garlic hummus on hand) 1 teaspoon ground coriander 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 1 teaspoon turmeric 4 firmly packed cups fresh baby spinach leaves 1 cup shredded plant-based parmesan (I like Follow Your Heart) 1-15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 8 ounces plant-based chick’n (I like Tofurky brand)
In a 2.5 to 3-quart soup pan, heat about 1/2 cup vegetable stock over medium high. Add onion, salt, and pepper, and saute until onion begins to soften. Add garlic and continue sauteeing until both garlic and onion are very soft. Add spices and stir until completely combined. Add remaining stock followed by spinach in two halves, stirring until wilted after each. Stir in parmesan, chickpeas, and plant-based chick’n, and continue stirring until cheese is melted, flavors married, and soup is heated through.
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.
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.
Crispy Everything Bagel Brussels Sprouts with, what else? A plant-based cream cheese dipping sauce with a swirl of Sriracha.
Requiring only 20 to 25 minutes hands-free cookies time, these nuggets are ready in the time it takes to walk one
12 ounces Brussels, halved 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon or so Everything Bagel Seasoning
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss together above ingredients, spread into a single layer on a rimmed baking pan, cut side down, and roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until crispy and browned. Serve with barely melted plant-based cream cheese (I zap in mic), whisked and swirled with a bit of Sriracha.
Corn Pudding Baked in an Orange Bell Pepper at 350 for 25 minutes. I topped mine with leftover Whipped Cauliflower with Lemon Zest, Cranberry Sauce, and Roasted and Lightly Salted Pepitas. Such a cozy quick meal after a packed day on a chilly night.
Stuffing is everyone’s favorite, no? Mine tastes so similar and every bit as delicious as the ones I remember from childhood, yet it is not only vegan but far lower in calories thanks to only 2 tablespoons of oil in the cornbread muffins, water sauteeing of vegetables, and the inclusion of cauliflower pearls rather than white bread. Though I love cauliflower, don’t worry, it does not taste–or smell!–of cauliflower.
And the texture is just perfect thanks to homemade cornbread–with actual corn–that goes together in a flash, sauteed onion plus the green part of green onions, water chestnuts–my late mom’s secret ingredient–and just a few dry roasted pecan halves.
Note: please do not try to save time by using Whole Foods vegan cornbread. It is sweet enough to be cake and, last year, reacted to liquid like cake turning into a dense mass that ended up in the woods next to our house. I had to redeem myself this year. And I did!
Cornbread: Make cornbread a few hours–or a day–ahead: 3/4 cup self-rising cornmeal mix 1/2 cup all purpose flour (I use white whole wheat) 1 tablespoon Vegan Egg (not tested with other egg substitutes but try it and share!) 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy millk (I use soymilk) 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1/2 cup water Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 3/4 cup frozen corn
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease 6 muffin cups and preheat for about 7 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk together dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and add vegetable oil and water. Whisk together just until combined. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in corn. Divide mixture evenly among muffin cups and bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and, when cool enough to handle, remove cornbread muffins from tin and crumble into a large bowl. Cover until ready to use.
Stuffing: 1 medium onion, finely diced 2 cups cauliflower pearls (buy them prepared or chop in a food processor until the size of small peas) 4 celery hearts, sliced lengthwise, and then finely diced 1 tablespoon minced garlic 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 cups vegetable stock or broth, divided 1-8 ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained 4 green onions, green part only (reserve white part for my delicious fat-free Vegan Mushroom Gravy) 1/4 cup pecan halves toasted for 5 minutes at 350 degrees 3 tablespoons aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas)
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and oil a 9 x 13″ casserole dish. Cover bottom of large cast iron skillet with water. Heat over medium-high and then stir in onion, cauliflower, celery, garlic, and poultry seasoning. Season with salt and pepper and saute, stirring frequently, until tender, adding 1 cup vegetable stock a little at a time. When vegetables are softened and most of moisture has been absorbed and/or cooked off, remove from heat and add to bowl with crumbled cornbread. Stir in water chestnuts, green onions, and toasted pecans, moistening with remaining cup of vegetable stock or broth and aquafaba. The consistency should be that of unbaked bread pudding, so add liquid a little at a time, adding more or less, as needed. Adjust seasoning if necessary, transfer to prepared casserole dish–avoid packing down–and bake, uncovered, for a half hour. Serve immediately.