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Vegan Blueberry Buckle

June.28.2012

I blame Costco for this one.   What else would have possibly possessed me to buy a 3 pound bag of frozen blueberries?  After drinking enough blueberry smoothies to last me all summer, I had to put them into something new.  Naturally, I baked.   Never having made a buckle before (and, admittedly, not really even knowing what it was), I looked for a recipe online.

This cake is delicious – a bit dense, not too sweet, but brimming with ripe blueberries.  And crumbly, brown sugar-y streusel topping just makes all problems disappear.

And, hey, it’s full of fruit, so this is totally an acceptable breakfast.  And it’s so delicious alongside a mug of coffee.

Vegan Blueberry Buckle

Based on this recipe, with some adaptations

For the cake:

  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar (or maple syrup, or a combination)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk (or 2 more tablespoons oil)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups blueberries (if frozen, thaw first)

For the streusel

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (or canola oil)
1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. Prepare streusel: In a bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Add oil and mix until crumbly
3. Sift together 2 cups flour with 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt.
4. In a small bowl stir together agave, 3 tablespoons oil, 2 tablespoons milk, and vanilla
5. Add wet ingredients to dry. Stir.
6. Fold blueberries into cake batter
7. Pour batter into a greased springform pan.  Sprinkle with struesel
8.  Bake for 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
9. Allow to cool before unmolding
The batter will be uberpurple if you use frozen blueberries.  When I cut into the cake, I was expecting to find the interior a bright purple.  After baking, though, it just has a tinge of purple color.  It was absolutely gorgeous inside.
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Simple vegan meals: Grilled Japanese eggplant

June.23.2012

I’ve been meaning to start this series on Heart Via Stomach for months now.  Obviously, though, I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from writing lately.  I’ve still been cooking and taking photos, so I’ve got a few posts lined up.  I’m also hoping to chronicle some of the veg*n food I come across while traveling next month, so expect some delicious international eats!

This dish is easily scalable for a larger crowd, but it’s also a super simple, delicious option for nights when you’re dining solo.  The aluminum foil package can even multitask to become your serving vessel, especially if you’re eating alone and don’t mind looking less than classy.  And I sure don’t.  I ate this meal straight from it’s shiny metal envelope.

Not only is this easily prepared, it’s completely adaptable to whatever cuisine you’re in the mood for.  The tender, stringy, melt-in-your mouth flesh of the cooked eggplant makes a gorgeous foundation for any kind of topping you can thing of.

Throw some miso and sesame seeds on top after cooking for a Japanese side dish.

Top it with tahini, lemon, and parsley for a deconstructed baba ghanoush of sorts.

Stuff with vegan cheese and marinara or pesto sauce before grilling, and serve alongside a loaf of crusty bread.

The Basics:

  • Make a slit down the middle of each eggplant.  This will ensure that the eggplant does not burst, but also provides you an opportunity to add any seasonings that you’d like (see above and below).
  • Enclose 1-3 Japanese eggplants in a large piece of aluminum foil, sealing packet completely so that no steam escapes
  • Place aluminum foil packet straight onto grill and cook over medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes, until eggplant is completely tender.
  • Season as you wish.
  • Note: If you don’t have a grill, try roasting the eggplant in the oven at about 400 degrees until tender

For tonight’s version:

I stuffed some slices of sauteed garlic into the eggplant to flavor it while grilling.
To make this entree-worthy, I topped it with some slices of tempeh, as well as fresh parsley, nutritional yeast, and sriracha (because few meals are complete without it)

Roasted tomato and arugula pesto

March.20.2012

While I’ve been known to love the classic Italian basil pesto, I also love a good food experiment. Especially one that turns out as insanely delicious as this one.

I first made this as a pizza topping a few weeks ago, when I was figuring out what to make for an Oscar get-together.  Since then, I’ve made this pesto four times.  And I’ve discovered that it tastes good on just about everything.

Throw it on top of pizza, pasta, vegetables, a salad, or a sandwich to add a burst of fresh, savory flavor.

Roasted tomato-arugula pesto

1 pound cherry, plum, or other smallish tomatoes

4-5 cloves garlic, peeled

2.5 cups fresh arugula

3 tablespoons raw walnuts

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

1.  Preheat oven to 300 F. 

2. Slice tomatoes in half (optional: scoop out seeds – no me gusta)

3. Toss tomatoes with about 1 tablespoon olive oil and a few pinches of salt.  Coat garlic cloves in olive oil as well.  Place tomatoes and garlic on sheet pan and into the preheated oven

4.  After 15 minutes, turn garlic cloves over.  Allow to roast 10 more minutes before removing garlic from pan.  Toss tomatoes in pan and return to the oven to roast for 25 minutes more (for a total of 50 minutes)

5.  Add tomatoes, garlic, walnuts, and arugula to food processor and pulse.  Add enough olive oil to smooth out the mixture.  Salt to taste.

Classic fruit tart, veganized

March.14.2012

The most challenging part of vegan baking is, without a doubt, finding the proper substitute for an egg. There are so many different ingredients cooks use to fill the role of eggs- to leaven, to bind, to add creamy texture- none of which works as a direct substitute in every recipe. I’ve experimented with most of these substitutes, from ground flax to chia to powdered egg replacers, but this was my first real foray into a recipe which is so dependent on egg: custard.

One of my coworkers requested that I bake a classic fruit tart, the kind that you see displayed so beautifully behind the glass case in french bakeries (like the one two blocks away from work). I’d never made a fruit tart before, vegan or not, but my mind immediately started racing with recipe ideas. My first thought was to use silken tofu, but I quickly nixed the idea because, while I appreciate the jiggly wonder that is tofu, I prefer to keep it in the savory realm.

Quickly, I thought back to Christmas of last year, when I was helping my dad make English Trifle, a holiday staple in our family. I was tasked to make the custard and, upon reading the ingredient list, discovered that it’s doesn’t contain any egg or dairy. Bingo. That tidbit of knowledge was stored away in the recipe-centric region of my mind (which I believe takes up about 73% of my brain’s capacity) until a few weeks ago. All I needed to do was sub in non-dairy milk and hope to God that nothing would go awry. I think the pictures are evidence that things worked out pretty well.

Basic tart crust:

– 1 + 1/4 cups flour

– 1/2 cup Earth Balance

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 1 tsp sugar

– 2-3 tablespoon cold water

1. Combine all ingredients except water in a food processor until well incorporated. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough forms. Alternatively, mix ingredients by hand, adding water once the dough has a crumbly texture.

2. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or as long as 24 hours

3. Roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thin and press into tart or springform pan. Puncture crust with a fork multiple times to prevent bubbling.

4. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden.


The custard

– 3 tablespoons custard powder (yes, it’s vegan) or cornstarch

– 1/4 cup organic sugar

– 1 cup dairy free creamer or non-dairy milk. (Creamer will give a richer flavor, but soy or almond milk works as well)

1. Mix custard powder or cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of the creamer/milk and 1 tablespoon sugar. Stir with a fork until no lumps remain. I like to pass this mixture through a mesh strainer to ensure the custard comes out smooth.

2. Heat remaining milk/creamer with remaining sugar on the stovetop, almost to a boil. Pour hot milk over the cornflour mixture and stir.

3. Return custard mixture to the pot and continue to cook over medium-low heat for about five minutes stirring continuously, until thickened. It will take a few minutes to start to thicken up, but once it does the custard thickens very quickly.

4. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before pouring into the prebaked crust.

Finally, top the tart with the fresh fruit of your choice, sliced up beautifully. I used classic fruits: kiwi, strawberry, and raspberry, but almost anything will work. Mangoes or peaches would add a gorgeous extra pop of color, not to mention delicious flavor.

The best vegan banana muffins

February.15.2012

Let me preface this post by saying that this is not my recipe. I could spends weeks trying to come up with a great recipe that holds together well, doesn’t dry out, and has the perfect crumb texture, but I feel that nothing I can conjure up can top this simple, absolutely perfect one I found on the Huffington Post.

And, hey, don’t knock me for borrowing content, ’cause that’s exactly what the HuffPo does.

At least I’m posting some pretty pictures.

The recipe only calls for chocolate chips, but I think walnuts are a welcome addition in almost anything, sweet or savory, so in they went.

For 16 Muffins (or 12 regular sized + 12 mini)

2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 and a 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup vegan chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

(edit: this recipe also tastes great with just 1/2 cup sugar.  To healthify it a bit more, try replacing the oil with applesauce)

(preheat oven to 350 F)
1. Mix flour + salt + baking soda in a bowl

2. Combine oil and sugar. Stir. Add mashed banana. Stir. Add water and vanilla. Stir in flour in increments. Finally, add chocolate chips and walnuts.

3. Divide batter into greased or lined muffin tin. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes (15 or so for mini muffins)

Pomegranate Dolmas

January.18.2012

I absolutely love cooking with pomegranate juice. Not only is it absolutely delicious – straight out of the bottle or infused into anything and everything – it imparts gorgeous color into everything it touches (though, when it touches my clothes, that beautiful scarlet color is not quite so desirable)

Pomegranate glazed tofu, pomegranate vinaigrette, and, of course, these dolmas (dolmades?).

I bought grape leaves on a whim one day, thinking that when the craving struck, I’d go out and buy the rest of the classic dolma ingredients.  That didn’t quite happen.  As is often the case, I found myself in a whirl of kitchen madness on my day off from work and felt like whipping up anything and everything I could.  The jar of grape leaves caught my eye, and I said to hell with the white rice, mint, dill, and whatnot and scrounged around my cabinets for substitutes.

So, I conjured up my own simple recipe and it turned out absolutely delicious and surprisingly similar to traditional dolmas.  Pomegranate is classic Mediterranean fare, so it’s really not such a stretch.

– 3/4 cup brown rice
– 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
– 1 cup vegetable stock
– 1/2 – 1 cup water
– 1 onion, diced
– 30 (ish) grape leaves
– 1 1/2 tablespoons sucanat or brown sugar
– olive oil
– 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted (optional)

  1. Put rice, juice, stock, and 1/2 cup water into a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down to simmer and cook for about 35 minutes. You’ll want the rice to be a bit undercooked, as it will continue cooking inside the leaves.
  2. In the meantime, saute onions in a bit of oil over medium heat until just translucent
  3. Blanch grape leaves a few at a time in boiling water and set aside
  4. Cut stems off of leaves
  5. Combine rice, cooked onions, sugar, and salt to taste. Add walnuts, if using. allow to cool for 20 or so minutes.
  6. Lay one grape leaf on flat surface, vein-side-up and place a spoonful of rice filling at the stem-end of the leaf.
  7. Fold stem-end over rice, fold sides in, and roll up the rest of the leaf (see below for visual instruction)
  8. Place rolled dolmas in a wide pan (in one layer) and fill up with about 1/2 inch of water.  To prevent burning, line the pan with extra/ripped leaves
  9. Simmer over low heat until all the water has evaporated.
    make avatar


want some?

Vegan ‘Ricotta’ Gnocchi two ways: original and gluten free

January.11.2012

Since I know I’ve already made grandmothers from so many cultures roll over in their graves with my (odd) food creations, I figured there was no harm in offending just one more culture’s traditions.

And this recipe, an affront to Italian grandmothers everywhere, was born.

Delicious? Yes. Authentic? Hell no.

Step one: Making the tofu “ricotta.”  The flavor of the gnocchi will turn out best if this is done the day before, though it will be delicious either way.  You’ll want to blend the tofu mixture until it’s completely creamy and uniform

Add flour to tofu mixture, being careful not to overwork as this will create a gummy gnocchi

Roll the dough gently into a rope about 1 inch in diameter

Cut into pieces about 3/4 to 1 inch wide

Optional: roll each gnocchi with a fork (I did so to differentiate the GF gnocchi from the others)
Boil for a quick 2 minutes, drain, and add your favorite vegetables and toppings!

VEGAN ‘RICOTTA’ GNOCCHI
– 16 oz. block extra firm organic tofu
– 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
– 3-4 cloves garlic, smashed
– 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
– Salt and pepper to taste
– 1/2 to 3/4 cups wheat or chickpea (for GF version) flour

Note: Steps 1-3 may be done the day before.  This will allow the flavors to develop well

1. Saute smashed garlic in oil until golden brown
2. Combine tofu, garlic, and nutritional yeast in food processor and blend until smooth.
3. Add salt and pepper to tofu mixture. Taste. The ‘ricotta’ should be a little bit saltier than you like, as you will be adding flour
4. Transfer ‘ricotta’ to small mixing bowl and add 1/2 cup flour. Stir to combine. If dough is too loose to roll out, add a bit more flour, but try to use as little as you need
5. Roll out dough on floured surface. Divide and shape into ropes 1 inch in diameter.  If dough is difficult to work with, refrigerate for 1/2 hour.
6. Cut dough into pieces 3/4 to 1 inch wide
7. Drop gnocchi into boiling water in small batches. Both the wheat and GF versions took 2 minutes to cook

Optional steps:
– Sear the gnocchi in 1 teaspoon olive oil for a crispy exterior
– Add your favorite vegetables and toppings. I paired the gluten free version with sauteed mushrooms, basil puree, and vegan parmesan.  The wheat version was tossed with arugula, baby tomatoes, and hemp seeds.  Both were topped with freshly ground pepper.

Gnocchi with arugula, tomatoes, and hemp seeds.

Gluten free gnocchi with basil, mushrooms, and vegan parmesan.

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