RSS Feed

Category Archives: Vegan

Pierogi Pizza

Posted on

Yesterday was John’s birthday.  It happens to fall on National Pi Day, and it makes this former math teacher giggle every year.  For several years I’ve made him pie for dessert instead of cake at his request.  His favorite meal is pizza.  If you haven’t noticed, we don’t have pizza often.  It’s hard enough when you’re gluten free, but toss in dairy and tomatoes and it all gets more complicated.  Now, John can still eat pizza, he’s not allergic, but the date falling during Lent puts a hitch in the situation.  This issue was discussed last week in a Facebook group I follow.  One suggestion was to try a pierogi flavored pizza.  Thanks for the idea, Elizabeth; it was great!

We tried to make real gluten free pierogis when we were studying Poland last school year.  It was pretty much a flop.  They all fell apart in the boiling water.  It was so bad that I finally baked the rest.  The baked ones were great, but I pretty much gave up trying to make gluten free-egg free pierogis ever again.  Pierogi Pizza was a much better idea.

Pierogi Pizza
I started with this pizza crust recipe.  As always I was missing a few ingredients, so I improvised a little.

I started by mixing this gluten free flour blend:

2 cups sorghum flour
2 cups tapioca starch
1 cup potato starch
1 cup teff flour

I doubled this pizza crust for my family, but next time I might triple it.  It worked out this time because I had extra mashed potatoes and dessert coming.  Don’t worry I plan to share the dessert recipe in the next post.

Pizza Crust
1 3/4 cups gluten free flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon guar gum
1 teaspoon ground flax seed
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup almond milk
2 Tablespoons safflower oil
1/2 teaspoon vinegar, optional

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients and blend thoroughly.

Add the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Add a tablespoon or two of additional liquid at a time, until dough comes together easily. Cover and let sit at room temp for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. With lightly oiled hands, press dough into a 10″ circle on a lightly floured pan, building up edge slightly.  Bake for 13-15 minutes.

Remove crusts from oven, top with sauce, etc. and return to oven. Heat until toppings are bubbly, about 8-10 minutes. Parbaked crusts can be stored frozen to use as needed.

————————

This is the part where we diverged from traditional pizza recipes.

Earlier in the week I started fermenting sauerkraut using cabbage from my St. Patrick’s Day produce pack using mason jars and this method.  The finished product was waiting in the refrigerator.

Once I had my pizza dough mixed and resting, I started boiling 2.5 -3 lbs of potatoes for our mashed potato “sauce”.  These I mashed with almond milk and some nutritional yeast.  Sorry I didn’t measure that part.  Then I mixed in about two cups of sauerkraut.  Taste and add salt if needed.   The adults in the house thought that it needed more kraut, but the kids thought it was just right.

While the potatoes were boiling, I started browning one very large thinly sliced onion in a dry cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Stir regularly.  Once the onions were pretty brown 10-15 minutes, I drizzled them with a couple of tablespoons of safflower oil, sprinkled them with salt, and reduced the heat to medium-low for another ten minutes or so.

Then I sliced mushrooms and tossed them in to saute with the onions.  I had a few sprigs of fresh thyme from my St. Patty’s pack, so that went in too.  At this point I felt that it needed some color.  Once the mushrooms were cooked I added some spinach I had in the fridge leftover from our spring rolls the day before.

Somewhere towards the end of mashing the potatoes and cooking the mushrooms, I patted the dough out on the floured pizza pans and parbaked them according to the directions above.

I spread the mashed potato “sauce” on the cooked crust and topped it with the onion and mushroom mixture.  Discard the thyme stems as needed.   Bake for another 8 minutes and serve with oven roasted asparagus.

Broccoli Cashew Stir Fry

Posted on

Earlier this week I planned to make a beef-broccoli stir fry, and I did make it for dinner tonight.  However it was so similar to my green bean-beef stir fry that I decided to type up a backlogged vegan stir fry from back during the Nativity Fast.  The kids liked this one so much that we’ve had it twice since then.  It does make a nice diversion from the beans that we normally use for protein during the fasting seasons.  Instead we used plenty of cashews.

Broccoli Cashew Stir Fry

Broccoli Cashew Stir Fry

3 cups dry brown jasmine rice, cooked

3 Tbsp sesame oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch knob ginger, minced
3 carrots, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
1-2 lbs broccoli crowns (to taste), cut into small florets
1 1/2 cup cashews, toasted
3-4 Tbsp coconut aminos
salt to taste

Put the rice on to cook.

Heat a dry wok over medium heat.  Lightly toast the cashews for 3-4 minutes with constant attention, so you don’t burn them.  Set aside for later.

Heat the sesame oil in the hot wok and add the onions, garlic, and ginger.  Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.  Stir fry until they are just beginning to be translucent at the edges.

Add the carrots and celery.  Continue to stir fry for another 4-5 minutes while mixing thouroughly.

Mix in the broccoli and mushrooms.   Make sure you mix enough that the broccoli and mushrooms make contact with the bottom of the wok.  Stir fry for another 5-7 minutes until the mushrooms are tender and the broccoli is tender-crisp.  If you’d rather have softer broccoli, cover with a lid and steam for 2-3 minutes.

Toss in the cashews and drizzle with coconut aminos.  Adjust salt to taste.  Serve over rice.

The Eighth Day of Christmas: Corn-Free Tamales

Posted on

Most tamales are gluten free, while many are dairy free; you can also make them vegan with a seasoned black bean filling.  They are a big project, but well worth your time (if you are a fan).  Making them yourself cuts the cost dramatically, and they freeze successfully for up to a year.  It is a Mexican tradition to make tamales for Christmas.  While they can be made at any time of the year, it makes the most sense to me to make them at Christmas when all of the ingredients go on sale at the ethnic markets.  It’s also the only time of year that you can easily find banana leaves.

I started making tamales when we found out that Buster couldn’t eat peppers.  Trust me when I say that the only way to find a pepper free tamal is to make it yourself.  (Language nitpicking: Tamal is the proper Spanish singular, while tamale is the American misunderstanding of the word.)

We hit a hitch last year after we discovered Little Man’s corn allergy.  Tamales are a staple of our almost-everything-from-scratch diet.  What would I do without this emergency meal?  That’s when I found out that some tamales are steamed in banana leaves instead of corn husks.  With that hurdle passed, all I had to do was tackle the masa.  What other gluten free flour would produce comparable results?  After my experience baking, I knew sorghum reacts similarly to corn in baking.  I decided to try it.  A little tweaking later and now Little Man (and my mom) can eat tamales!

Each year I spend two days making a large batch, and then they serve as a quick meal straight out of the freezer many times throughout the year.  The first day you simply simmer the meat until it’s tender and season it for the next day’s work.  Don’t forget to save the broth too.  The second day you mix the masa, assemble the tamales, and steam them.

This website is the one I used to learn how to prepare tamales.  I simply leave out the spices that contain peppers and follow the rest exactly.  Well almost exactly…  I now skim the lard off the top of the chilled broth from the first day’s meat preparation.   Then, I use that as the fat in the masa.  I only use cooking oil after the lard runs out.  Waste not, want not.

The only special piece of equipment you need is a steamer pot.  You can buy big fancy pots just for tamales, but I just use my pasta pot with it’s large insert.

Before I get to the recipe, I must point out that tamal making is a big job.  Be sure to have at least one helper, but many hands make light work.  This year we invited friends for cooking and eating on New Year’s Day, and afterwards we sent them home with leftovers.  Thanks for coming, Patrick and Heather, we had a great time!

Tamales
When I make vegan tamales, I soak and cook 3 lbs. of black beans, drain, and season them with the same spices as described in the aforementioned linked recipe.  You can also add fresh corn off 4-6 cobs to the blend for added texture–unless you are making corn-free tamales.

Also take a look at the flavor options on this site.  They even have dessert tamales.  I see experimentation in my future!

Corn-Free Tamales

1 package fresh banana leaves
prepared meat or bean filling (1.5-2 cups for this amount of banana leaves)
Warm broth

Masa (start small, you can always make more if necessary)
2 cups sorghum flour
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp salt
2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1/3 cup lard, canola, or safflower oil
Warm broth (quantities vary by day and humidity)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Wash and dry the banana leaves.  Cut them into strips about 8″ X 10-12″ and remove the tough spine if necessary.  Kitchen shears make this job go quickly.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.  Cut in oil until well distributed.   Add warm broth about 2-4 tbsp at a time until the masa is a thick peanut butter consistency.  The masa should spread well without cracking too much.  It is very forgiving at this stage, so you can add more flour if you get it a little too thin.

On a cookie sheet warm 3-4 cut banana leaves in the oven for 2-3 minutes.  Be careful not to over warm them or they will dry up at the edges.  This process keeps them from splitting when you fold the tamales.

Spread about 1/4- 1/3 cup masa (to taste) in the middle of the leaf.  Spread in a circular motion or press down with your fingers.  Fill with about 2 Tbsp of meat or beans (to taste).

Gently fold the banana leaf around the fillings to make a long tube, then fold the ends towards the seam to make a small rectangular envelope.  Now many recipes will tell you to tie the package with cooking string, but I simply let gravity help the process and lie them on their flaps to keep them closed.

Place the tamales in your steamer and steam for one hour over medium heat.  Check the water level periodically to make sure that you don’t scorch your pot.  Don’t ask me how I know this little tip.

Sixth Sunday of the Nativity Fast: Cauliflower-Red Lentil Curry

Posted on

The sixth and last Sunday of the fast found us exchanging gifts at my in-law’s house after liturgy.  We didn’t manage to complete our Advent reading until the next day.  The theme of Communion for this week helps keep our focus on Christ, the true reason we celebrate this season.

The Fifth week of the fast I found myself with several small heads of cauliflower.  Rather than come up with several ways to use it up, I just made a double batch of this soup.    The soup lasted through several meals before Christmas as well as freezing enough for two extra meals in other weeks.

Cauliflower-Red Lentil Curry
It’s one of our favorite soup options, but I don’t think I’ve ever made it the same way twice.   I always start with the same base soup, but the additions may vary by ingredient availability and my preference on a given day.  The sweet potatoes may be my favorite addition.

Cauliflower-Red Lentil Curry

1/2 onion, diced
3 carrots, sliced
3 celery stalks with leaves, thinly sliced
1 cup red lentils
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets
3 cups vegetable broth
3-4 cups water
1 Tbsp Ruth’s Curry Powder
salt to taste

Place everything but the cauliflower in the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer for 15-20 minutes.  The onions and celery should be mostly tender.

Add the cauliflower, return the soup to a boil, and simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.  Adjust salt to taste.

For an additional twist, puree the end result for a creamy soup.

Optional Additions ( pick one or two, add with the cauliflower)
2-3 potatoes or sweet potatoes
Shredded cabbage
Spinach
Swiss chard
Kale
1 can of coconut milk (add at the end)

Fifth Week of the Nativity Fast: Crunchy Chickpea Avocado Salad

Posted on

Fifth Week Advent Wreath
Not only was this week the fifth Sunday of our Advent season, but it also marked two Saint’s Days in our family, both Buster’s and mine.  We both celebrate on the Sunday the Church remembers the forefathers and foremothers of Christ.  We also share this day with many parishioners including the Godparents of Snuggle Bunny and Little Man.  Needless to say it is a busy day for our family.

We managed to squeeze our Advent readings and a nap between Liturgy and a fastworthy graduation party at a friend’s house that day.

The theme for that week was repentance.  It was fitting and timely for the week as we prepared for Confession leading up to the end of the fasting season.

Throw in last minute preparations for get togethers with each side of our extended family, and there wasn’t a spare moment for blogging in the whole week and a half leading up to the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord.

I planned simple meals for that week.  Many of them I’ve already shared.  I made Vegan Burritos using pink beans.  We tried baked potatoes and cashew sauce.  Only this time we used white potatoes and cranberry beans.  While it was filling and the kids had no complaints, I do prefer the recipe as originally posted.

Then there was this salad.  I found a great sale on Beanitos, so this meal was easy using cooked garbanzos straight out of our freezer.

Crunchy Chickpea Avocado Salad
I modified this from a recipe of Bobby Flay’s.  It’s become quite popular among the small people at our house simply because of the chips.

Crunchy Chickpea Avocado Salad

3 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
2 avocado, diced
1 small can sliced or minced black olives, drained
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3-4 Tbsp rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
Drizzle Olive oil (optional)
Salt to taste
1-2 Tbsp minced parsley or cilantro (optional)

Crumbled corn chips or Beanitos
lettuce for salad

Mix all but the chips and lettuce in a bowl. Let sit 20 minutes or so to marinate.

Put a bed of lettuce on a plate and crumble corn chips over salad.

Spoon chickpea mixture over salad.

St. Lucia Day Soup and Buns

Posted on

Growing up I read about St. Lucia traditions in this book.  I have loved this Swedish tradition since childhood, but last year was our first year to celebrate it.  This year we made almost traditional St. Lucia Buns with a gluten free, vegan twist for our homeschool co-op yesterday.  Tonight the kids took a few extra St. Lucia buns to the neighbors while dressed up.  Buster made the props for himself and Little Man.

St_Lucia2013
Yesterday at our homeschool co-op I read this book about St. Lucia, and the children made St. Lucia crowns.  The boys had the option of crafting and decorating spruce trees in to remember St. Herman who shares this feast day.  One of the moms graciously made both recipes from this blog post about St. Herman Day to share alongside our St. Lucia buns and soup.  Here is a great book about St. Herman for your bookshelf.

The soup we made during class yesterday, so today my family ate the leftovers.  This is a Sicilian St. Lucia soup that I modified only slightly to make it allergy friendly for my family.  The original recipe calls for wheat, but we use brown rice instead.  We also had to leave out the pepper for Buster. Moreover, the original recipe has you cook each ingredient in separate pot, but I’ve streamlined the instructions to just use one large soup pot.  Use one that holds at least seven quarts because this recipe makes a lot of soup!

St Lucia Soup and Buns
Every time I make this soup the leftover components of this soup absorb almost all of the broth, so add more water when you reheat or be content to eat it as beans and rice the next day.

Cuccia – St. Lucia Soup
1 lb uncooked brown rice
1 lb dry fava beans
1 lb dry ceci (garbanzo beans)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp salt, to taste
1/3 cup olive oil (optional, I’ve always forgotten this ingredient and nobody seems to mind)
Lots of water

Soak the beans in separate bowls over night.

About three hours before dinner drain and rinse the fava beans and place them in a pot covered well with water.  Add the garlic and bay leaves to the pot.  Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for one hour. Stir occasionally,  skim off any foam, and add water as needed to keep the beans covered.

After one hour add the garbanzo beans with additional water.  Bring back to a boil and reduce to simmer for another hour.  Stir occasionally,  skim off any foam, and add water as needed to keep the beans covered.

After this hour add the rice and the salt to the pot with 4-6 cups of additional water, so that the rice will have enough water to cook while still leaving you with soup.  Stir well and place the lid on the pot.  Bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.  Add more water if necessary.

Adjust salt to taste and pour olive oil over the top as desired.

_______________________

I started with the St. Lucia Bun Recipe here and worked to make it vegan.  Last year I tried it with yeast, and this year I resorted to baking powder.  It was missing the yeasty flavor, but we liked the outcome.

Gluten Free – Vegan St. Lucia Buns

1/4 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
2 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon guar gum (omit if using a blend that already includes xanthan or guar gum)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tbsp Ener-G egg replacer powder
raisins, as garnish

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

In a small microwave safe bowl combine the coconut oil, milk, water, and crumbled saffron threads. Heat in the microwave on high for 30 seconds and stir. Microwave for another 15 seconds, and stir. If the oil is not melted, heat for another 15 seconds until it is. Set the milk mixture aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients, and mix well.

Add the liquid mixture and mix until the dry ingredients have incorporated the wet ingredients. Turn the mixer up to high and allow it to beat for a minute or so. Some of the dough should begin to pull away from the sides of the bowl and should be relatively smooth, but tacky to the touch. If the dough seems too stiff, begin to add a little bit more milk, a tablespoon at a time, beating in between additions until the proper consistency is reached.  If the dough is too sticky, add more flour a tablespoon at a time until it fits the above description.

Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface, and divide with a bench scraper into 10-12 equal portions.

For each portion of dough sprinkle very lightly with flour and roll back and forth into a rope about 9 inches in length that tapers slightly at each end. The dough should be pretty easy to handle. Place the rope of dough perpendicular to your body, and curl one end of the dough toward the right and back on itself in a coil. Curl the other end of the dough back on itself in the opposite direction in a coil (see photo). Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

Place the pieces of shaped dough on a nonstick or parchment lined rimmed baking sheet about 2 inches apart from one another.  Place the raisins in the center of the two coils at the end of each roll.  Brush each roll with a little almond milk.

Place the rolls in the center of the preheated oven and bake rotating once during baking for 12-15, or until cooked throughout. Since these are vegan, they won’t brown the same as other baked goods, but they will taste great anyway.

Pan Seared Pineapple

Posted on

Snacks around here can get interesting.  I rarely buy prepackaged food.  Allergy friendly snack foods are quite expensive, so I save most of them for special occasions.

Here is a run down of snack ideas off the top of my head:

Fresh fruit – 90% of the time
Veggies with hummus
Fire ants on a log (Texas style – use Craisins instead of raisins)
Sweet potato fries
Kale chips
Dried fruit
Nuts
Roasted pumpkin seeds
Muffins
toast
homemade popsicles
smoothies
Vitamix “ice cream” – frozen fruits and nut milk
snow cones with concentrated fruit juice in the place of dyed syrup
rice pudding
fermented vegetables
random scraps of leftovers

We ate leftovers for dinner, so I didn’t have much to write.  Then I realized that I had some fresh pineapples from this week’s produce basket that I was avoiding.  I didn’t really want to eat cold pineapple during this chilly week, so we tried something new.  It turned out so well that it is worthy of it’s own post.

Pan Seared Pineapple

Pan Seared Pineapple

1 fresh pineapple cut into spears
Drizzle with agave nectar, maple syrup, or honey
Add light dusting of allspice (or cinnamon if you aren’t allergic)

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Toss the pineapple spears with the other ingredients.

Pan sear the pineapple until golden brown.  Drizzle with a bit more agave and serve.

Confession:
We liked this so well that the five of us consumed three whole pineapples tonight.  I guess it’s good that we didn’t let them go bad, right?