Category Archives: Photos

Caramelized Apple Sticky Buns

We made these for our most recent brunch to rave reviews. Warning: if you are going to make these, be prepared to use a LOT of Earth Balance, a LOT of sugar, and a LOT of flour. These are by no means healthy, despite the inclusion of fruit. Oh, and prepare to spend about 4 hours on them.

The base is the VeganYumYum Perfect Cinnamon Buns dough. We had used it before and it worked perfectly. For brunch I doubled the recipe, but making a single recipe should work just fine. Yield is 12 big buns.

Dough

The original VeganYumYum recipe for the dough comes with great step by step photos, so head over there if you’d like.

Yeast Mixture
4 tsp Active Dry Yeast (a little less than 2 packets)
1 tsp Sugar
1 Cup Warm Water

Dough
1 Cup Non-dairy Milk
2/3 Cup Sugar
2/3 Cup Earth Balance Margarine
2 tsp Salt
2 Egg Replacers, prepared, optional (I used 2 tsp ground flax and 6 tbsp warm water, stirred in a small bowl and let to sit for a couple of minutes)
Yeast Mixture, from above
6 Cups All Purpose Flour, more for kneading

Filling

Raisins, optional
1/4 cup Raisins
1/4 cup Whiskey
2 Cinnamon Sticks

1/3 cup Walnuts, broken into small pieces
1/2 cup Earth Balance Margarine
1 & 1/4 cup Sugar
2 tbsp Ground Cinnamon

Sticky Sauce

1 – 2 Apples
1/2 Lemon or 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Earth Balance Margarine
1/2 cup Sugar
1 tbsp Maple Syrup (agave works too)
2 tbsp Non-Dairy Milk

Dough

Mix together the ingredients in the yeast mixture in a non-reactive bowl. Let the yeast mixture sit for about ten minutes to proof – you’ll know it’s ready when it’s nice and foamy.

While you’re doing that, in a saucepan, combine the non-dairy milk, sugar, margarine, salt, and egg replacers over medium-low heat. Heat until the margarine is melted, mixing together. You don’t want it to be hot – if it’s too hot, it’ll kill the yeast. Test by putting a bit on the back of your wrist.

Add the yeast mixture to the milk/margarine/sugar mixture and stir.

In a large bowl, combine 4 cups of flour with the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Add the remaining 2 cups of flour and mix in partially. Turn out onto a clean, dry, floured surface and knead together until the dough is smooth and elastic, or 8 – 10 minutes. Use extra flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.

Once the dough is ready, place it in an oiled non-reactive bowl, cover it with (oiled) plastic wrap, and leave it in a warm place to rise for 90 minutes.

Now you’re ready to start preparing your filling.

Filling

If you’re doing the raisins, follow these steps. Break up the cinnamon sticks. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the raisins, whiskey, and broken cinnamon sticks. If the whiskey doesn’t cover the raisins, add water. Allow this mixture to heat until it’s simmering; simmer 10 minutes and then remove from heat. Allow the raisins to continue to soak.

Toast the walnuts in a small dry skillet over medium heat, flipping often so they don’t burn. You’ll want to toast them until they have darkened/goldened slightly and are fragrant. If you really wanted to go decadent here, you could candy the walnuts.

At about the 70 minute mark, peel the apples and chop them into cm x cm cubes, approximately. Sprinkle them with lemon juice to avoid them browning while you take care of the other steps.

At about the 80 minute mark, when your dough is just about finished rising, throw the raisins into a food processor or blender, or use a hand blender. Alternately, cut them with a knife. You want to purée them a bit so they are spreadable, almost like a jam.

Sticky Sauce

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the margarine, sugar, maple syrup, and milk. Stir together until the Earth Balance is melted.

Pour the sticky sauce into the bottom of your lasagna pan. Add the chopped apples.

Dough – rolling and filling

You’ll know your dough is finished rising when you can press a finger into it and it doesn’t spring back.

Preheat your oven to 350F. Find your lasagna pan. Oil it.

Remove the dough from the oiled bowl and roll it out into a 15″ by 20″ rectangle on a clean, dry, floured surface. The more perfect the rectangle, the more perfect your buns.

Melt the Earth Balance for the filling and brush it evenly across the dough rectangle. Add the sugar, sprinkling evenly, and the cinnamon.

Now, starting at one horizontal edge (I prefer the one closest to my edge of the counter/table), spread the raisin mixture along the edge. You want to fill up about the bottom 5cm of the rectangle. This will fill the centre of the rolls with yummy whiskey raisins.

Sprinkle the toasted walnuts evenly across the dough rectangle.

Now it’s time to roll your buns up. Start at the bottom edge and roll nice and tight until you get to the top. You will now have a long, skinny tube. If possible, you will want to cut them with thread or fishing line so you don’t squish them. I used my thread to make marks along the length of the tube so I would end up with 12 evenly sized buns. Don’t worry – these will continue to rise afterward; they won’t really be as small as they look.

Again, for more details, check out the step by step photo guidelines at VeganYumYum.

Once your rolls are sliced, place them in the pan. They will be swimming in sauce by the end, which is good. Cover them and let them rise some more – I let them rise overnight in the fridge, but you can also just let them rise in a warm spot for another hour or 90 minutes.

Bake 25 – 30 minutes or until golden. We had a bit of an issue with the bottoms not being fully cooked due to the overwhelming wetness of the apples and sticky sauce. If this happens to you, put a piece of tin foil over the pan to avoid burning the tops and bake for another 20 minutes in the oven.

Let them cool for about 5 minutes before you eat them. Pull ’em out, flip ’em over, and eat with a fork. Add candied walnuts on top, or icing sugar, or fresh apple. Yum!

Vegan biscuits are for lovers!

We’re making a little vegan brunch tomorrow for some 41 friends and family to the theme of “Vegan brunch is for lovers”, and our red-and-white benny will be sitting atop these cute heart shaped biscuits. Recipe below.

We modified from this recipe. This was all Kaylie, except for the cutting, which I did.

Two tablespoons shy of 1 cup unsweetened almond or other non-dairy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 cups all purpose flour plus more for rolling
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup Earth Balance margarine, cold
1/3 cup garlic confit or roasted garlic in oil – if not soft, chop beforehand

Heat the oven to 450 F. Prepare two baking sheets by greasing or lay down parchment paper.
Combine the milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl; flip lightly with a fork to simulate sifting, or sift.
Cut in the margarine – use a pastry cutter or two knives or a large fork. Your aim is to have chunks of margarine holding the flour together to give the biscuit its flakiness.
Pour in the milk mixture and add the garlic – it should be soft and easy to cut with a fork. Mix together but do not overmix or you will end up with tough biscuits.
Roll the dough out until it’s about 1cm thick or slightly thicker on a clean, lightly floured surface and cut with a cookie/biscuit cutter or use a knife and cut into squares.
Put in the oven. Check after ten minutes – you want the bottoms to be lightly browned and the biscuits firm.

Pumpkin Brunch Roundup

This past weekend we hosted our long-awaited (by me, pumpkin lover) PUMPKIN BRUNCH (aka Prumpch). As usual, I didn’t take photos, but luckily the Serendipitous Vegan(s) were in attendance, and gosh darn it if Richard Giordano doesn’t take absolutely beautiful photographs.

Pumpkin Benny

A fresh-baked sundried tomato and rosemary scone topped with savoury tofu, wilted greens, fried shallots, and roasted yam, bathed in a hot spiced pumpkin soup. Served with roasted root vegetables.

Kaylie actually made her own stock from scratch for the soup that was this benny’s sauce. She also roasted the pumpkin – it was a beautiful sugar pumpkin. All told the soup took three days to make. The scone was Isa Chandra Moskowitz’ recipe from Vegan Brunch. It was definitely too sweet for this purpose – tomatoes are already so sweet. Next time we’ll cut the sugar in half.

Pumpkin Pie French Toast

Locally-made walnut bread dipped in pumpkin pie purée, pan-fried and topped with a thick maple scented coconut cream, chocolate dipped hazelnuts, and candied orange zest.

The pumpkin pie batter we used for this was maybe a bit goopy – it was pumpkin puree mixed with coconut cream and spices. Next time I’ll use silken tofu so it crisps up a bit more, and perhaps will cook down the pumpkin.

Savoury Squash and Mushroom Cakes

Crispy acorn squash and mixed mushroom cakes atop a bed of garlic infused cauliflower purée. Sprinkled with spiced, roasted pumpkin seeds and more mushrooms; served alongside a roasted apple, fennel, and shallot salad.

The base of these cakes was cornmeal (polenta) which helped them stay together. I think polenta is the key to making a good cake consistency without eggs.

It was delicious. Just saying.

Spooky Food Extravaganza

We have been so busy this month adjusting to new living situations. Before I knew it, the month had raced by, and today it’s time for my long-awaited HALLOWEEN POTLUCK!

So excited – a bunch of friends are coming over with spooky themed food and we’re going to dress like members of the Addams family. I’m making blood’n’guts lasagna with tofu ricotta and loads of mixed mushrooms, and of course I’m going to make the spiderweb lattice crust pumpkin pie I made last year. Who could resist this little guy’s face?

pumpkin pie with a spiderweb lattice crust 2

My friend Michael wanted to make this vegan “blood” pudding but found it a bit complicated and ambitious for him. I really didn’t know much about blood pudding… but how gross must the non-vegan version be? Blech.

Also, holy MACKEREL, guys, but if I didn’t just find this spooky Halloween food recipe roundup! Five million spooky Halloween food recipes.

Mixed Mushroom Polenta with Roasted Tomato Passata

dinner for jocelynn - portobello polenta with roasted tomato passata, marinated roasted portobello, herbed walnut salad, and champagne grapes

Polenta is just about the easiest thing to make. It’s basically a mixture of cornmeal and water. Depending on the proportions of water and cornmeal you use, you can make “soft” polenta (which is more like porridge) or, my preference, a harder, heartier polenta that’s fantastic with savoury meals.

The key to making your polenta flavourful and delicious is to avoid using just water. Make a flavourful broth, and add the cornmeal to that. You don’t have to be very careful with amounts – just add more cornmeal or water depending on how you feel about the consistency. Of course, it does solidify as it cools, but you should be able to tell what the final texture will be like not long after adding the cornmeal to the liquid.

For broth, I usually use a bouillon cube – I find them handy to have around the kitchen for adding flavour to everything from curries to soups to rice. Use mushroom bouillon for a mushroom-flavoured polenta, like the one I made, or choose a veggie or herb broth cube for different flavours. If you’re using bouillon cubes, it’s easiest to pre-mix them with boiling water – pouring the water down on to the cube like you would with tea.

Mixed Mushroom Polenta

1 pint shiitake, crimini, or oyster mushrooms
1 – 2 tbsp light vegetable oil
3/4 to 1 cup cornmeal (sometimes just called “polenta”)
1 mushroom bouillon cube
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup soy sauce (optional)
Nutritional yeast (optional)
Onion and garlic powder (optional)

Chop the mushrooms to a reasonable bite size. At the same time, boil 2 cups of water in a kettle. In a large bowl or glass measuring cup, pour the water over the crumbled bouillon cube and stir to dissolve. Add the broth to a large pot on the stove and keep it boiling – on medium heat.

Saute the mushrooms in oil in a skillet on medium-low heat until they sweat.

Add the bay leaves and soy sauce, if using, and salt and pepper. At this point I like to taste the broth and make sure it’s flavourful. Cornmeal doesn’t have much flavour on its own. If the broth isn’t flavourful, add onion powder, garlic powder, or other complementary spices.

If you’re using nutritional yeast, add it with the cornmeal. Pour the cornmeal in slowly while stirring to achieve a smooth consistency. Continually stir it until it starts to firm up. After a couple minutes, if it hasn’t firmed up, add more cornmeal. If it’s too firm, add more water (or broth).

You can either stir the cooked mushrooms in with the polenta or you can place them on top as I did. Once the polenta has been stirred, you want to cool it to room temperature. Remove from heat and leave uncovered (so it doesn’t sweat too much). Press the mushrooms into the top and let cool 30 minutes.

Roasted Tomato Passata

This is one of the easiest sauces to make, and it’s also rather impressive, because you roast your own tomatoes rather than using a can. It takes about an hour and a half all told.

8 – 10 small to medium sized tomatoes
Olive oil (buckets of it)
Salt and pepper
1 red onion, diced
3 – 5 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh basil or oregano leaves – a large handful
1/2 tin (1/4 cup) tomato paste
1 bouillon cube
Water

Heat your oven to 400 Fahrenheit. Toss the tomatoes in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them out on a baking sheet and bake them until they pop – check them every 10 minutes. You want them to be soft and wrinkled and for the skin to split.

While you’re roasting the tomatoes, dice your onion and mince your garlic. Use a generous amount of olive oil – 1/8 cup or more. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan on medium-low heat and add the onions. Once they’ve started to go soft, add the garlic. It burns easier so should be added later. Cook til soft – until the tomatoes are pretty much done.

Crumble the bouillon cube into the saucepan of onion and garlic. Add the roasted tomatoes once they’re nice and soft. You’re going to want to crush them with the back of your wooden spoon. Mix the tomato paste with hot water in a separate bowl or cup – don’t use much, maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup – and then add it to the mixture. You want to simmer the sauce as long as you can. Make it fragrant and lovely. Once you’re 5 – 10 minutes off of eating, add the chopped basil or oregano leaves, put a top on that saucepan, and let it simmer the flavours together. Serve over top your polenta.

DELICIOUS.

Rainier Cherry, Vanilla Bean, and Lavender Jam

I’ve already posted the rainier cherry and wild sage jam I made. This was the second jam I made with the rest of the cherries I got from my good friend Arinn. I used the same method, but different flavourings. This jam turned out beautifully, delicately flavoured. The mild flavour of the rainier cherries was complemented really well by the vanilla and lavender. I wouldn’t recommend making this jam with dark red bing cherries. I think they would overpower the vanilla and lavender flavours.

rainier cherry, vanilla bean, and lavender jam

4 cups rainier cherries, pitted and halved
Juice of 1 large lemon – about 2 – 3 tbsp – be careful about the seeds
1/2 of one vanilla bean, crushed or minced – or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract would work
1 tsp lavender flowers
1 cup sugar
1/2 package liquid pectin (about 45 mL)

Once you’ve pitted and halved your cherries, put them in a pot. Or pit them into a pot. Add the lemon juice and cook over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Maintain that heat, stirring occasionally, until the cherries soften – about 25 minutes. Add the vanilla bean toward the middle of the cooking process.

Smush some of the cherries with the back of your spoon, or, if you’re lazy like me, use a hand blender to cream about half of the cherries once they’ve cooked down to softness. If you don’t smush the cherries, there will be big round chunks in your jam.

At this point, after the cherries have cooked to softness, add the lavender. Stir it in. Add the sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Stir to dissolve. Cook for another couple of minutes, then add the pectin, and stir to dissolve. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often enough to keep it from burning. You can turn down the heat to a simmer at this point.

Now you’ll have to test for jelly point. Dip a metal spoon in – if the jam coats the back of the spoon, you’re in business. You can use the spoon drip method, or the plate method. For the plate method, chill a small plate in the freezer for two minutes, then put a spoonful of the jam on it. It should not spread out like water – it should hold together a bit. Chill it in the fridge for 5 minutes (or the freezer for 2 minutes), then push your finger into it. If it wrinkles, it’s ready. If it’s not ready, cook for another 5 minutes, then try again.

Once your jam is done, transfer it into jars. You should either seal them immediately while it’s still hot, or wait for the jam to cool entirely. Afterward, you can freeze the jars, or you can heat-seal them using boiling water – fill a large pot up with water enough to cover the jars by 1cm. (Obviously test while the jars are in the pot.) With the jars in the pot, heat the water up to a boil and boil for about ten minutes. Remove from the water and let them cool.

I got a bit less than a litre of jam – 4 250mL jars.

Rainier Cherry and Wild Sage Jam

Ah, jam-making, that hobby that only people who live lives of leisure can partake in. I made my first jams recently, and goodness gracious but they take a long time and a lot of patience! It’s not something I generally have in spades, but by my third jam, I felt like I got pretty good at it. We’ll just not talk about the first one.

jams

On Sunday I visited my friend Arinn at the market where she works as a florist. One of the market vendors had given her pounds upon pounds of slightly imperfect (read: still amazing) BC rainier cherries. She couldn’t even hope to use all of them so she gave half to me. Exciting!

Rainier cherries are the golden-coloured, mildly-flavoured variety of this incredible summer fruit. BC, where we live, is a fantastic cherry growing province; they really flourish in the Okanagan, and come this point in summer, I find I’m almost cherried-out. How can that happen?! Cherries are so amazing! But, after eating several hundred cherries, I found that I simply wanted to make jam with them.

Of course, upon looking it up, I realized that jam has RIDICULOUS amounts of sugar in it. Um, I am not so into that, guys. I can’t justify putting more sugar than fruit in a pot, and frankly I just don’t want to eat that. The jams I ended up with are less firmly set than the jam you’d get in a store, because the pectin is supposed to interact with copious amounts of sugar in order to set. But I really liked the texture I got from using only a cup of sugar and half a package of pectin.

Now, pitting cherries is a giant pain in the behind. If you don’t have a cherry pitter (and I don’t), I recommend setting yourself up in front of a movie. Use a curved paring knife if you have one and remember to always cut away from yourself. Halve the cherries and remove the pits and stems. I got cherry juice all over the floor and my feet and clothes, so think about lining the floor with newspaper or simply washing it after… and wear an apron.

rainier cherry and similkameen wild sage jam

Rainier Cherry and Similkameen Wild Sage Jam

Earlier in the month I visited the Similkameen Valley, a desert region of BC near the US/Canada border. We picked oodles of wild sage – a very fragrant wild herb – and I had some drying in my kitchen. I thought that sage and cherries would be very autumny and complementary. I had a few dark red bing cherries in the fridge as well so I threw those in to this batch of jam – really, only about 6 of them, and what a colour difference they made.

4 cups rainier cherries, pitted and halved
Juice of 1 large lemon – about 2 – 3 tbsp – be careful about the seeds
1+ tbsp sage leaves – I used mine semi-dried, but you could use dry or fresh
1 cup sugar
1/2 package liquid pectin (about 45 mL)

Once you’ve pitted and halved your cherries, put them in a pot. Or pit them into a pot. Add the lemon juice and cook over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Maintain that heat, stirring occasionally, until the cherries soften – about 25 minutes. Add the sage toward the middle of this cooking process.

Smush some of the cherries with the back of your spoon, or, if you’re lazy like me, use a hand blender to cream about half of the cherries once they’ve cooked down to softness. If you don’t smush the cherries, there will be big round chunks in your jam.

Once the cherries are soft, add the sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Stir to dissolve. Cook for another couple of minutes, then add the pectin, and stir to dissolve. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often enough to keep it from burning. You can turn down the heat to a simmer at this point.

Now you’ll have to test for jelly point. Dip a metal spoon in – if the jam coats the back of the spoon, you’re in business. You can use the spoon drip method, or the plate method. For the plate method, chill a small plate in the freezer for two minutes, then put a spoonful of the jam on it. It should not spread out like water – it should hold together a bit. Chill it in the fridge for 5 minutes (or the freezer for 2 minutes), then push your finger into it. If it wrinkles, it’s ready. If it’s not ready, cook for another 5 minutes, then try again.

Once your jam is done, transfer it into jars. You should either seal them immediately while it’s still hot, or wait for the jam to cool entirely. Afterward, you can freeze the jars, or you can heat-seal them using boiling water – fill a large pot up with water enough to cover the jars by 1cm. (Obviously test while the jars are in the pot.) With the jars in the pot, heat the water up to a boil and boil for about ten minutes. Remove from the water and let them cool.

I got a bit less than a litre of jam.

Avocado, toasted walnut, smoked tofu, arugula and beet Carpaccio sandwich on Sourdough topped with lemon garlic olive oil

beet, arugula, smoked tofu, walnut, and avocado sandwich with potato salad

Beets are a simple, delicious, and nutritious food, but after hearing the comments on this beet sandwich I realized that not many people know how to prepare beets the way I do. It’s really easy! Beets are not that intimidating. People think it is difficult to pair things with beets (Malloreigh doubted that this sandwich would be good, but it was in fact very delicious) but this was a really fantastic combination.

Beet Carpaccio

A “carpaccio” is officially thinly sliced raw beef or fish, but it’s just too good of a term for thinly sliced beets. It’s not really a carpaccio but we’ll call it that anyway.

Don’t peel the beets before you boil them – leaving the skin on helps to seal in the nutrients, which would otherwise be partially lost through boiling. If you’re using both red and golden beets, boil them separately to maintain the colour. As you may know, red beet juice will stain anything and everything it touches bright pink.

Separate the beets from the beet greens. Boil them whole in a pot filled with water over medium-high heat until a fork can easily pierce them – about 30 to 45 minutes, maybe longer.

Once the beets are boiled, let them cool – drain them into a colander and run cold water over them to speed this process. The skin should slough off easily, but if it doesn’t, use a paring knife or sharp vegetable peeler.

Now, your beets are ready to slice. Use a mandolin slicer to slice them thinly or use a sharp non-serrated knife.

Sliced beets will keep in the fridge for at least a week if you put them in a resealable container, but they are also pretty easy to eat in one sitting.

Beet Carpaccio Sandwich

This beet sandwich was simple and delicious. Sliced avocado, lightly toasted whole organic walnuts, thinly sliced smoked tofu, fresh arugula, and sliced beets were dashed with fresh ground pepper. The sourdough bread I used was drizzled with lemon and garlic infused olive oil. It was served with a side of potato salad.

Product Review: Handcrafted Vegan Bakery Bagels

So the other day, Amanda from Handcrafted Vegan Bakery, a local custom vegan baking service, posted that she was selling a half-dozen bagels in whatever flavour we requested for $5. What a deal! I could not resist buying a half-dozen bagels for that ridiculously low price. I requested sesame bagels so I could eat them with a variety of toppings – but I ended up sharing them with friends, anyway, so I guess I have so buy some more.

When I saw Amanda to get the bagels from her, she mentioned that custom orders had been coming in for exciting flavours like jalapeno and cheddar Daiya; she mentioned that she would have to charge extra for fancy things like that, since Daiya is about $5 a bag. Good to know. Anyway, I really recommend these delicious, handmade bagels. She also does a variety of other types of baking, including the best scones I have ever had, so check out Handcrafted Vegan Bakery if you live in or around Vancouver.

handcrafted vegan bagels with vegenaise, tomato, chive, and pepper