Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pumpkin Biscuits

Recipe from Jenny:

These are a variation on these Nutty Sweet Potato Biscuits. The original recipe called for 3/4 cup of sugar--way too much in my opinion; 1/3 cup is still quite sweet! I also incorporated a couple other things that I do differently--like using pumpkin instead of sweet potato.

Pumpkin Biscuits

1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 c. chopped nuts
2 c. cooked, pureed pumpkin
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. margarine, melted (1 stick)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and the nuts. In another bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, margarine and vanilla; add to flour mixture and mix well. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead slightly, adding flour until the dough is not too sticky. Pat dough to 1/2 in. thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2 biscuit cutter and place on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 1 1/2 to 2 dozen.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Middle Eastern Barley, Lentil and Rice Pilaf

Recipe from Christina:

Middle Eastern Barley, Lentil and Rice Pilaf

I love the dried fruit in this recipe! It is quick, easy and satisfying. I sometimes add nuts for extra flavor and protein.

1 T oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 t sugar
1/2 cup dry lentils
1/2 cup barley
1/2 cup long grain rice
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1 t dry mint

Heat oil in a medium-large saucepan. When hot, add onions and garlic; saute 2 minutes. Stir in cinnamon and sugar, then add 4 cups water. Add lentils and barley. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Add rice, apricots, raisins, and mint. Stir ingredients together, cover the pot again, and simmer 20 more minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed and it's tender. Season to taste with pepper.

Martha the Librarian smoothie

Recipe from Natalia Hawthorne:

I have a "reverse-engineered" recipe for a smoothie we had at a vegan restaurant in Fort Worth that I liked a lot. It was called "Martha the Librarian smoothie" or something like that. Originally it was, indeed, concocted by someone named Martha, who was a librarian, and she shared the recipe with the vegan guys who ran that restaurant. She said she enjoyed sipping her smoothie while reading a good book.

Anyway, here's Nat's version of "Martha the Librarian":

(The basic ingredients and proportions may vary according to your own taste. This makes 1 tall smoothie glass):

Martha the Librarian smoothie

- 3-4 strawberries
- 1 whole banana (or half a banana)
- 1 teaspoon peanut butter (smooth)
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder (the bitter organic type, NOT the sugary mix)
- 1 cup soy milk (I use "Silk") (use more for a lighter and "thinner" drink).
I think in the restaurant version it was tofutti ice-cream, and that made it more of a dessert type smoothie. My home version is lighter and can be used as a quick yet nutritious and tasty substitute for breakfast or supper.

If you'd like to, you may add:
- a dash of whatever smoothie fruit syrup you might have waiting in the fridge just for an occasion like this one... (I know CostCo sells that stuff and it comes in different berry flavors according to the season. (It can be easily skipped though with no damage to the outcome)
- ice (I skip the ice! )

Blend everything in a blender until smooth.

There you have it! "Martha the Librarian" - a perfectly vegan, delicious, nutritious smoothie! You've got your fruit and fiber, vitamin C (strawberries), potassium (banana), protein (soy), nuts and oils (peanut butter), antioxidant (cocoa).

Try it - it's really good!! :-)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Chocolate chip pumpkin muffins

recipe from Jenny:

My girls LOVE these muffins. The original recipe calls for 2 eggs instead of the flax seed and water, but I really don't taste a difference. It also calls for almost twice the amount of sugar, but we like it like this. I don't obsess overmuch about finding completely vegan chocolate chips; as long as they're not milk chocolate, I figure a bit of milk fat won't break the spirit of the fast.

Chocolate chip pumpkin muffins

1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tbs ground flax seed
6 tbs water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
2/3 cups apple sauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 can (15oz) pumpkin (or 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree)
1 cup chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 24 regular muffin cups, 48 small, or a combination. Mix flours, spices, and all the other dry stuff together. In a different bowl mix the ground flax seed, water, oil, applesauce and pumpkin. Add the dry stuff to the wet, then stir in the chocolate chips. Bake 20 minutes or until done (it usually takes more than 20 for me).

Makes 24 regular muffins, 48 mini, or a bit more.

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

Recipe from Jenny:

This is the basic bread recipe from my absolute favorite bread cookbook--Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. I make almost all our own bread (and bread products--tortillas, muffins, etc.) and using this book it really does take only a few minutes! The recipe is endlessly adaptive; I think I've only made it exactly as written here once, the first time. I HIGHLY recommend this cookbook!

You'll need a medium pot with a lid or a lidded (but not airtight) plastic food container for the dough (it needs to fit in the fridge). Also, you'll need a stoneware baking sheet and another flat (no sides) baking sheet for rising (or a pizza peel, if you have one, which is what the book calls for).

Basic Bread Recipe

Makes 4 1-lb loaves. Recipe can be doubled or halved.

3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbs active dry yeast
1 1/2 tbs coarse salt (or 1 1/4 tbs regular salt)
6 1/2 cups flour
cornmeal for pan

Add the yeast and salt to the water in the pot or bowl in which you'll be storing the dough. Mix in all the flour at once with a wooden spoon or your hands. No kneading is necessary; just mix until all the flour is incorporated and everything is uniformly moist. The dough will be wet and loose. Cover the container and let the dough rise at room temperature until it begins to collapse (or at least flatten on top), around 2 hours. At this point you can remove some dough to use, but it will be easier to manage if you refrigerate it first. So, either put the covered container in the fridge, or remove some dough to bake.

When you're ready to make a loaf, sprinkle a handful of cornmeal evenly and fairly thickly on the flat sheet. Then sprinkle some flour over the dough in the container and, for a 1-lb loaf, cut off a grapefruit-sized piece of dough. Hold the mass of dough in your hands, adding a bit of flour if needed, and gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball as you go. Most of the flour will fall off; it's not meant to be incorporated into the dough. The bottom of the loaf will probably be all bunchy and uneven, but will smooth and flatten out as it rests and bakes. The whole shaping should take less than a minute. Place the ball on the cornmeal-covered flat pan (flatten it a bit if you want) and let it rest for 40 minutes (you don't need to cover it). It might or might not rise a lot during this time, depending on how old the dough is. Put the rest of the dough back in the fridge in the covered container.

20 minutes before baking (ie, halfway through the resting period) put the baking stone on the middle rack of the oven and an empty broiler tray below it. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. After the loaf is finished resting, dust it liberally with flour and slash it a few times with a serrated knife. Slide the loaf off of the flat pan onto the stoneware pan in the oven. Pour a cup of hot tap water into the broiler pan and close the oven to trap the steam. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch on all sides (including the bottom). Remove from the stoneware and allow to cool at least 15 minutes on a cooling rack.


You can substitute another kind of flour for up to half of the flour in the recipe--I usually use 1 cup of rye, 2.5 of whole wheat, and 3 of white. I also often add a couple TBS of sugar and/or oil. There are many more variations and ideas in the book--I've only made a few, but they've all been great. You can also make a larger loaf; I usually use about 1/2 of the dough (of course the baking time is longer), and that makes a loaf big enough for us to eat at dinner with perhaps a piece or two left over. It's so simple that it's easy to make fresh bread every morning! I've never left the dough in the fridge more than 4 days or so, but the book says it should be fine for at least a week.

Apple-Cranberry Cake

recipe from Jenny:

This cake is chock-full of fruit and, as cakes go, fairly healthy and not too sweet. And tasty!
Apple-Cranberry Cake
1/2 of a 12-oz pkg of fresh cranberries (or frozen)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 apples, peeled and diced
2/3 cup sugar
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cloves
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup raisins or other dried fruit (optional)
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
~1/4 cup liquid (cranberry juice, orange juice, and water all work)
Preheat oven to 325ยบ. In a small pot, bring to a boil ½ cup sugar and 1 cup water. Add cranberries and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool. Stir together cranberry mixture, apples, and the rest of the sugar and let stand 10 minutes. Combine dry ingredients in another bowl, then add nuts, raisins, oil, and vanilla to the apple-cranberry mixture. Stir fruit mixture into the dry ingredients, adding as much liquid as needed to make a thick batter. Pour into 9x13 inch greased pan and bake 50 minutes.
Variation: To make a plain apple cake (no cranberries), omit the cranberries, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup water. Use 4 apples instead of 2 and 3/4 cup of sugar instead of 2/3. Continue as above.