The Only Way to Fry: Cornstarch Slurry (vegan & plant-based)

Cornstarch Slurry:  It’s the Only Way to Fry!

For the occasional deep fat fried splurge, I vastly prefer slurry over breading or battering, though it is more similar to the latter:

1/4 cup each water and cornstarch + choice of seasoning coats a pound of tofu cubes (or cauliflower florets, etc.) with a little left over for thickening your sauce, here my favorite sweet and sour sauce with onion, bell pepper, and pineapple.

It lends the thinnest, crispiest coating for ultimate flavor and texture.

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#vegantofu

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Lettuce Pesto–Why Didn’t I Think of This Before? (Vegan & Plant-Based)

After a recent (vegan) Burger Night, we had all but 5 or 6 leaves of a head of red leaf lettuce left over. Yes, I could have made salads, but I am more of a slaw and mezze kind of gal.

I have made delicious kale pesto before and it suddenly occurred to me that lettuce is just another green and could be substituted. A stop by friends’ home and stroll through their bountiful garden left me with a small handful of mostly basil. I couldn’t wait to get home and whip it all into pesto for a TGIF mezze happy hour that evening with another dear friend.

It is so good, you may want to eat it as a little side dish!

Approximately 12 cups very loosely packed clean lettuce leaves, torn in half (I used all but a few, previously eaten, leaves of a head of red leaf lettuce)

1 very loosely packed cup basil leaves or mixed herbs or same amount lettuce leaves

3/4 cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds or pine nuts (I can rarely find the pine nuts in our grocery

3 large cloves garlic, peeled and halved

1/4 cup olive oil

Juice of 1 medium lime or lemon (start with a half and taste)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Optional: 2 to 4 tablespoons vegan parmesan (I like Follow Your Heart, but didn’t use any in this recipe)

Place all ingredients in bowl of food processor and process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

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Scrumptious Peach Poundcake with Peach Schnapps (vegan/plant-based)

When summer gives you peaches, make Peach Poundcake. All you need is a few minutes of hands-on time.

No fussy creaming or alternating ingredients.  Just combine all in a bowl and pop in the oven.

3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons vegan peach schnapps like Archers + more for brushing on (or substitute peach nectar)
4 tablespoons non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 very ripe pureed peaches (I use my Magic Bullet)
1 pureed banana (or substitute a third very ripe peach)
Accompaniments: non-dairy whipping cream, sliced or chopped ripe peaches, and/or non-dsury vanilla ice cream or peach sorbet

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan. Combine all ingredients, except accompaniments, in a large mixing bowl and whisk well to completely combine or use the low speed of an electric mixer, scraping sides of bowl often.  Spoon batter evenly into pan and gently smooth top. Bake approximately 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes, invert onto wire rack, brush with 3 or so tablespoons schnapps, and cool completely. Serve with desired accompaniments.

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Freedom Fusion Backyard BBQ Quesadillas–Assert Your Independence! (Vegan/Plant-Based)

Independence Day in the US is July 4. With leftover barbecue beans and slaw–standard menu items–but not wanting to enjoy them the same way we had on the holiday, I decided to make a quesadilla which I joking call Feedom Fusion, a blend of this American holiday fare with a favorite Mexican preparation.

There is no real recipe here. I just used the beans as the filling and the vinegar-based slaw on top. The beans were a jazzed up version of canned barbecue beans with ketchup, mustard, molasses, brown sugar, vinegar, and garlic and onion powders, baked at 350, uncovered, for an hour.

The slaw was similarly simple: vinegar, escabeche brine, garlic and onion powders, celery seed, sea salt and pepper, etc.

I found a 10″ tortilla in Kroger that is only 50 calories, which really appeals to me, though it may not matter to you. They are billed as high fiber and I cannot tell the difference between them and the 150 calorie version except they may be a little thinner, which is great by me.

I simply sprayed my skillet with nonstick spray, laid the tortilla in the skillet, spread the beans over half, folded it over, and cooked it for a couple of minutes on each side over medium heat. I then piled the slaw on top, drizzled it with no-calorie ranch dressing from Walton Farms that I had been sent to sample, and topped it with halved cherry tomatoes, pineapple chunks, and some jalapeño slices that were still floating in the escobeche brine, a homemade version gifted from Betsy Hardy, a dear friend.

That’s it: a flavor combo more explosive than Fourth of July fireworks.

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Stupidly Simple & Delish Grilled Eggplant Zataar with Tahini Slaw (vegan/plant-based)

Tonight’s dinner alfresco was inspired by what was in our fridge, and what I was craving, namely something cold and something grilled… summer is here with a vengeance in Eastern Virginia.

There is really not much of a recipe. I just grilled planks of eggplant on my indoor grill pan with non-stick cooking spray and sprinkled with a little sea salt and zataar.

For the slaw on top, I used a ratio of 1 to 1 to 2 tahini, brine, and olive oil. You could use any vinegar or vinegary-type brine, but I used some leftover escabeche brine.

I simply tossed the dressing with some slaw mix, mounded it on top of the eggplant, garnished with some sliced cucumber and cherry tomatoes, and sprinkled with Everything Bagel spice blend.

Dinner is served!

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn #vegansofinstagram #vegansoffacebook #vegansofvirginia #plantbasedMediterranean #veganMediterranean #plantbasedeggplant #veganeggplant

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Carrot-Cabbage Pakora–Simply Satisfying (vegan & plant-based)

Yield: 1 serving as a meal, 2 as apps (easily multiplies)

Craving pakora after seeing them promoted on a social media website of a favorite restaurant, I decided to make my own with ingredients I had on hand. These go together in a flash and taste like you labored for hours.

While you make the pakora batter, heat scant 1/2 inch vegetable oil in large skillet over medium to medium high heat u til shimmering g on the surface.

1/4 cup shredded cabbage (any color)

1/4 cupshredded carrot

1/4 cup very thinly sliced yellow onion

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup water

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

Accompaniments: chutneys like cilantro, mango, mint

Garnish: sliced green onion

In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients, except accompaniments and garnish with a fork. Create 4 mounds in skillet using 1/4 of batter for each. Gently press tops with a spatula and cook a couple of minutes or until golden brown. Adjust heat if cooking too slow or fast. Gently flip and brown on reverse. Remove to paper towels to drain and serve immediately with accompaniments and garnish.

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Black Beans & Greens in Coconut Milk (vegan & plant-based)

Yield: 2 servings (or more if served with other dishes)

This satisfying island-fusion dish is beautiful and beautifully balanced. It only serves 2 because you will want to devour it all. Note: I like the larger amount of spice.

1/2 large yellow onion, diced

2 to 3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Sea salt

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (I buy low sodium)

1 to 2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 to 2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 to 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1-15.5 ounce can coconut milk (I use light)

4 big handfuls baby spinach and kale leaves

1 tablespoon lime juice or something acidic (I used the brine from homemadr escabeche)

Garnishes: shredded carrots, sliced red onions, sliced green onions, halved cherry tomatoes, etc.

Accompaniments: plantain chips (I buy at Trader Joe’s)

Barely cover the bottom of a large skillet with water, bring to a simmer over medium heat, add onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt, and saute until tender, adding more water if necessary. Stir in black beans, spices, and coconut milk, and heat through, stirring. Add half of greens and stir to wilt. Follow with remaining greens. Stir in lime juice or other acid, and serve, garnished as desired, with plantain chips.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn #vegansofinstagram #vegansoffacebook #vegansofvirginia #plantbasedblackbeans #veganblackbeans #plantbasedgreens #vegangreens

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Coconut-Almond Wedding Cake or Cupcakes (vegan & plant-based)

A widow for 4.5+ years, I married Bob Friesen on May 15, 2021, in a magical, mostly DIY, micro-wedding at the rustic Southern Shores Civic Association North Marina Pavilion in the Outer Banks of NC. The love from our tribe of just under 50 made the simple elegance of our sweet ceremony, officiated by a dear friend who is ordained, and posh picnic expansive beyond our ability to describe.

I will joyfully share a few of the delectable food-related details here, including my recipe for the Coconut-Almond Wedding Cake (or Cupcakes) of my dreams. My dear friend, Sharon Clohessy, and I did one trial run, tweaked the flavoring, and then she did the honors, creating our perfect cake and one batch of 24 cupcakes. I made the other batch and together we frosted them the morning of the wedding in our charming sraside hotel, the Sandeling Inn in Duck, NC.

Coconut-Almond Wedding Cake or Cupcakes (vegan & plant-based)

Batter:

3/4 cup butter (I prefer Miyoko’s), room temperature
1 1/2 cup granulated natural sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon almond extract (start with less and taste)
1 tablespoon coconut extract (start with less and taste)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (start with less and taste)
3 cups all purpose flour
2.5 cups coconut milk (in a carton, not can)

Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in baking powder and extracts followed by alternating flour and coconut milk. Spread into 2 greased and floured 6″, 8″, or 9″ inch round cake pans or 24 paper-lined cupcake tins. Bake 30 minutes for 8 or 9″ cakes, slightly longer for 6″, or 20 for cupcakes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan, invert cakes layers onto racks, and cool completely. Frost and garnish. Freezes nicely if completely cooled and well-wrapped.

Buttercream or Cream Cheese Frosting

3/4 cup butter (I prefer Miyoko’s)
3/4 cup vegetable shortening or plant-based cream cheese
2 pounds powdered sugar
1 tablespoon almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract (or more)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (or more)

Garnish: Flaked unsweetened coconut, fresh edible flowers, like roses, pink sanding sugar, pink “XO”

Cream together butter and shortening or cream cheese. Gradually beat in powdered sugar and extracts. Thin if necessary with a tablespoon or so coconut milk. Frost cake or cupcakes and coat thickly with flaked coconut.

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Levender Blues aka Lavender-Blueberry Muffin-in-a-Cup for 1 (vegan, gf, added sugar-free)

Yield:1 muffin (easily multiplies)

When it’s just you and you need something nutritious, filling, and a hint sweet.

1/3 cup oat flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons granulated stevia blend for baking (1:1 sugar to stevia ratio), or to taste

2 tablespoons applesauce

1 tablespoon cashew, pecan, or almond butter

1 tablespoon non-dairy milk

1/2 teaspoon culinary lavender

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

1/3 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed, drained, and patted dry

Optional garnish: 1 teaspoon vegan cream cheese or sour cream and a few culinary lavender buds

Grease a mug with nonstick spray and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients, except blueberries, with a fork until smooth. Gently fold in blueberries. Transfer batter into mug and cook in microwave for about 3 minutes, in 1-minute intervals or until top is set. Garnish as desired. I cook mine in a clear glass mug so I can get the consistency exactly right. Plus, it looks really sparkly and pretty served that way.

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Cauliflower Nacho Hack (vegan, plant-based, lite, and quick)

Yield: 1 serving (easily multiplies)

Every so often in a restaurant, I will gaze longingly at a big laden pile of nachos, but the truth is that, even when faced with a big platter of the vegan variety, I really don’t want to eat all that business. So I devoted this pretty and healthful take. This quick version feels decadent and tastes delicious, but won’t weigh you down.

1-1.5 ounce bag Rhythm brand Crisp Cauliflower Bites (I buy them at Kroger)

1/4 cup shredded vegan cheese (I like a mozz, but cheddar is great too)

2 tablespoons Pico de Gallo

2 tablespoons vegan sour cream or creamy dressing (I use Walton Farms Chipotle Ranch with 0 calories)

Garnish: fresh sliced cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes, and thinly sliced red onion (you could also add or sub sliced black olives and sliced green onion)

Pour crispy Cauliflower Bites onto plate, top with cheese, microwave 45 seconds–Bites will not become soggy or chewy–top with pico and sour cream or dressing, garnish as desired, and serve immediately.

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