Sunday, September 28, 2008

Apple Tart with Chocolate Ginger Crust

I created this tart recipe to enter in the Key Ingredient "Apple" contest. Aside from being beautiful, it is deliciously rich with apple flavor. I think the best part is applesauce. If you don't want make the whole tart, you should at least make the applesauce. For some reason I've only made it once before. It's quick and easy, and it's still the best I've ever eaten.

Apple Tart with Chocolate Ginger Crust
serves 10
Chocolate Ginger Tart Crust:
1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup sugar
½ t. ground ginger
¼ t. salt
1 T. candied ginger, minced (Ginger Chews recommended)
6 T. margarine, cut up
2 T. shortening
3 to 5 T. ice water

2 lbs. gala apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
½ cup apple cider
2 T. apple cider vinegar
2 T. white sugar
1 T. brown sugar
½ t. cinnamon
¼ t. ground ginger

3 green apples
2 T. apple jelly
1 T. coarse sugar (optional)

Make the crust:
Put flour, cocoa, sugar, ground ginger, salt, and candied ginger into a food processor and pulse to combine. Add margarine and shortening and process until mixture forms crumbs, about 10 seconds. Add 3 T. ice water and pulse a few times. Process just until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If dough does not come together, add more ice water, 1 T. at a time. Remove dough and press into bottom and sides of a 9-inch tart pan with removable sides. Refrigerate the pan for at least one hour. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the tart for 20 minutes, checking often for “puffs.” (Flatten any puffs with the back of spoon.) Let cool before filling.

Make the applesauce:
Place all applesauce ingredients into a medium saucepan and mix. Simmer over medium low heat until the apples are soft and most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Mash the apples. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. (The applesauce can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for several days. It should be room temperature when you are ready to make the pie.) You may have leftover applesauce.

Assemble the pie:
Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Fill the tart shell with applesauce to just below the rim.

Peel, core, and thinly slice the green apples. Arrange the slices in a circle on top of the applesauce.

Warm the apple jelly, then brush over the apple slices. Sprinkle on the coarse sugar if using.

Bake 45 minutes or until apples are softened and lightly browned.

Let cool. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Falafel Lunch

No Sunday dinner again this past weekend, but that’s okay because Chase’s band had a gig in San Antonio Sunday night. A Saturday late lunch with falafels was requested, so I did the best I could to put together something quick and tasty.

Happy Veganface Jessy has an excellent post of her recent falafel dinner, which was very inspiring. Sadly, unlike Jessy who prepared everything from scratch, I used store bought falafel mix and pita bread. I did make her tahini sauce though, and it was wonderful.

As I was shopping, I was surprised to discover that my (former) favorite falafel mix used only chickpea FLOUR. So I was glad to find this new product at my neighborhood market, made with fava beans and chickpeas – no flour.

We baked our patties and they were very good, quite spicy too!

I was tempted to make Jessy’s cabbage salad (it looks so good!), but we are used to what is actually a very bad green bean salad at our favorite falafel café. I decided to use a recipe from Vegan Fire & Spice for Moroccan Spiced Carrots, and just subbed in my fresh green beans. It was delicious with lots of spicy cumin and coriander.

Saturday morning I put on a pot of Lentil Tomato Soup. This recipe is from Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons by Nava Atlas. I have to say that I’ve made many, many soups from this book and they have all been outstanding. This one was no exception.

I set out a platter of the tahini sauce, along with lettuce, cucumber, lemon, and tomatoes.

I made myself a Falafel Salad.

And Chase made himself a big fat pita.

Dessert was Iron Cupcakes (see previous post). Everybody loves the popcorn topping!

Like Jessy, it seemed an eternity since we had last enjoyed falafels, so this was a great meal for us.

I saw a search that led to my blog that pleased me – “really really good recipes for supper.” And here I haven’t made one in over two weeks. This next weekend looks a little iffy too… Rats....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Iron Cupcake:Earth Basil Challenge

Basil is this month's Iron Cupcake Challenge. Basil makes me think of tomatoes. Tomatoes remind me of an incredible tomato and peach gazpacho I sampled which was prepared by our Lake Austin Spa chef. I don’t even like gazpacho, but his concoction was something I’ve never forgotten. So for this challenge I created Peach Gazpacho Cupcakes.

The cake is based on the old tomato soup cake recipe. I couldn’t satisfy myself that Campbell’s condensed version is vegan, so I improvised with soygurt and tomato paste. I adapted a Sarah Kramer recipe from Veg Family. The peach part of the recipe is merely peach preserves, to which I added the basil. The basil flavor is very subtle, so if you want more, double the amount I used. And because of my aversion to buttercream frosting, I topped my cuppers with one of my favorite soup garnishes – popcorn, cinnamon flavored for this recipe.

Peach Gazpacho Cupcakes

Makes 1 dozen

The cake is slightly spicy and light in texture. These cupcakes are super quick and easy to make.

8 ounces plain soygurt
2 T. low sodium tomato paste
2 T. canola oil
2 t. vanilla
¾ cup sugar
1-1/2 cups flour
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
pinch of salt

12 t. (1/4 cup) peach preserves mixed with 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil.

1 cup popped popcorn sprinkled liberally with cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners.

For the cake: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the soygurt and tomato paste. Whisk in the oil, vanilla, and sugar. Sift in the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir until combined.

Spoon into cupcake pan. Smooth tops and add 1 t. peach preserves to the top of each cupcake. Bake for about 22 minutes.

When cupcakes are done, remove them to a wire rack. The tops will be just sticky enough for you to stick on the popcorn topping.

This was another fun challenge and rendered some very tasty cupcakes. You can view all the entries in the Iron Cupcake flickr pool and you can join this monthly challenge at any time - find out how at

I know my lowly vegan blog and loath of buttercream will never beat out the mainstream competition; nonetheless, to participate I must post the voting time and prizes awarded to the winner.

Voting will begin on Sunday, September 27 at 12 noon at NO ONE PUTS CUPCAKE IN A CORNER, and will be open through Tuesday, September 30 at 12 noon.

Prizes this month are provided by:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Krispy Cookies

A recipe:

Krispy Cookies (gluten free)

Makes 1-1/2 dozen cookies

¾ cup oats
½ cup gluten free flour (any kind should work)
½ t. baking soda
½ t. baking powder
½ t. salt
½ t. xantham gum
3 T. canola oil
½ cup applesauce
¼ cup natural sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
1-1/2 t. vanilla
1 cup rice krispies
¾ cup chocolate chips (or carob)
¼ cup peanuts (or any other nuts you like)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and xantham gum.

In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, applesauce, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir the wet mixture into the dry and mix well. Stir in the rice krispies, chocolate chips, and peanuts.

Drop heaping tablespoons of cookie mixture onto baking sheet (I used a cookie scoop) and flatten slightly. Bake 13 to 14 minutes or until cookies are set and edges are golden. Let cool a few minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Extra delicious while still warm.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Late Lunches or Early Suppers?

If you only get to eat one meal for the day at 4:00 in the afternoon, is it a late lunch or early supper? Whatever you call it, that’s how we ate this weekend in order to accommodate everyone’s schedules. When did the days get so busy?

On Saturday Chase and I picked up my mom and we went out for pizza. I had read about a tiny spot with fabulous pies that offered five vegan sauces and tons of tasty toppings, so off we went to East Side Pies. We built our own pizza with pesto sauce, spinach, onions, broccoli, sundried tomatoes, roasted garlic and onions, and cilantro. Imagine my happy face when this arrived at our table:

The crust was super thin, the garlic was sweet, and the broccoli was perfect.

(I brought a tiny jar of homemade vegan parm to sprinkle on top.) I made a treat for us to have afterwards – ED&BV’s Sunny Pineapple Yogurt Cake with Orange Glaze. It was extra nice after such a green pizza.

Sunday late lunch/early supper was a soup and sandwich type meal. Before I got started, I made Chase Mac ‘n Cheese ‘n Peas To Go. I used the Happy Herbivore test recipe, which bakes up so nice and Chase just loves.

Soup was ED&BV’s One Wild Chick Soup. This was really really good and eerily reminded us of Chicken and Rice Soup.

Sandwiches were Grilled Burritos. I had spinach tortilla wraps and made up 4 kinds of fillings. These pics aren’t the greatest and they may all look the same, but it’s nice to have a picture with the description, so here you go.

I made LDV’s ham style seitan – here’s a very candid shot. It is good stuff!

I made my first cheddar cheese from The Uncheese Cookbook. It turned out really good, but I’ll never eat it all.

Here’s part of the prep area:

Filling 1 – Dijon mustard/apricot jam spread, greens, carrots, tomatoes, olives, sunflower seeds, cheddar, and ham.

Filling 2 – Dijon mustard, greens, ham, cheddar, green apple slices, purple onions, tomatoes, and sunflower seeds.

Filling 3 – Barbecue sauce, greens, pintos, chilies, avocado, cilantro, purple onions, green peppers, red peppers, ham, and cheese.

Filling 4 – Italian dressing, greens, carrots, zucchini, olives, purple onions, red peppers, ham, and cheese.

I put them on the outdoor grill to get nice and toasty.

I had no way of knowing which filling was in which burrito, but no matter because they were all so tasty, especially the barbecue sauce one.

I finally got to make ice cream since I figured out the ice cream maker bowl needed to go in my freezer that actually freezes. And I made the most fantastic Ooey Gooey Chocolatey Chewy Brownies, thanks to Amey. Amey was incredibly sweet and sent me a box of FIVE gluten free baking mixes!

Oh, Amey, I’m afraid you will regret parting with these. These brownies were (almost) as good as any vegan or nonvegan brownies I’ve ever made from scratch, and I’ve made a lot of brownies over the years. There were chocolate chunks in the mix! I used coffee instead of water, applesauce instead of oil, and topped them with coconut. They were unbelievably delicious with my (finally) Goji Berry Cocoa Nib Ice Cream.

Thank you again, Amey, for thinking of me, and thank you all for reading through this rather long post.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Moving Weekend

I’ve finally found time to write a quick post and I hope to catch up with everyone later this evening. It was moving weekend for Chase so we’ve been very very busy with a bazillion things to get done and/or try to get done. Everything is still a little crazy since he’s moved into a much smaller place and many of his things have returned to his room in my house. I cooked A LOT and did EIGHT loads of his laundry. And poor Chase in addition to cleaning the old place and moving into the new place has had to go to work and school and band practice. Fortunately he still lives close by so he can come home to eat, shower, get on the computer, etc. Ughhh.

We did take time for a Sunday dinner with hurried photos, so I’ll give you a quick rundown of what I managed to put together. Chase said he had been living on junk all week, so I made sure to prepare as much healthy food as I could.

For our entrée we had Spaghetti and Hide the Lentils Sauce from ED&BV, only I wasn’t interested in hiding the lentils, and I added in carrots, onions, yellow squash, and fresh parsley and basil. I had my sauce with zucchini pasta and a Portobello mushroom.

I made up some quick Gimme Lean sausage patties. For some reason lentils always make me think of sausage.

La Dolce Vegan’s Easy French bread which was meant to be garlic bread, but we just had it plain.

Of course there’s always time to fix some yummy broccoli, this time prepared with sundried tomatoes.

I made a Roasted Hatch Chili Salsa on Saturday, but it didn’t make it to Sunday dinner. It was really good and of course I didn’t take time to write down a recipe. But I had all fresh ingredients. I started by roasting the chilies, somehow burned my arm really bad while roasting them, and then added in onions, tomatoes, peaches, and cilantro.

On Friday I decided we needed some healthy cookies, so I made up some gluten free cookies with rice krispies, peanuts, and chocolate chips. Chase got to have some right out of the oven which he thought were incredible. I did write down this recipe, and hopefully will get it posted before too long. I LOVE to bake with rice krispies!

I tried to make ice cream twice before I realized my freezer isn’t freezing anymore. But it’s my “extra” freezer, so I don’t have to worry with that issue right now, thank goodness. So for Sunday dessert I pulled out some cake I had frozen back in February, Vcon’s Coconut Lemon Bundt Cake. It was superb back in February, and although a little dry, still yummy on this occasion, served with fresh strawberries and peaches.

I feel bad that I’ve missed some birthdays, anniversaries, and really incredible food posts, but I’ll be by for a visit soon! Have a great week!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


As I mentioned, Sunday marked my two year Blogiversary and was also an early Labor Day celebration. I made lots of yummy food, attempting to make up for last week’s family dinner flop. I didn’t get real fancy, but I made sure it was a great meal. I did the traditional end of summer grilling party with Susan V’s Barbecue Ribz and all the sides.

The ribz were something Chase had been wanting, and I made them extra special with his favorite homemade barbecue sauce. Since these are pure gluten I didn’t eat any, but I know most of you have made these and love them. Having never bought, eaten, or even seen vegan ribz before, I didn’t really know what I was supposed to be making. I don’t think I did them quite right, but since there were NO leftovers, I guess I got lucky and got it right.

For our sides I made:

Broccoli and Potato Salad. It was super duper and if you would like my recipe, it is posted here.

Wasabi Coleslaw, a recipe adapted from Anna at Great flavor in a crispy and refreshing salad. I’ve posted my recipe here.

Fresh Fruit Salad, put together from what I had on hand, which was mango, kiwi, strawberries, a pear, and a nectarine.

Homemade Pintos. These were my protein and the leftovers will go on my lunch salads I take to work.

Cornbread, the Damn Tasty! recipe, with green onions and red jalapenos added in.

A baked Mexican style dip, a test recipe from the Happy Herbivore. I topped it with fresh chopped tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro. This is FANtastic! Some corn tortilla chips dunked into this dip is heavenly. As a topping over our pintos and cornbread - awesome.

By the way, Lindsay, the Happy Herbivore, has put together a little e-cookbook which includes this recipe. Please visit her site to get your copy!

It occurred to me that for someone who usually provides a *table shot* of my dinners, I really don’t set a very pretty table. I guess I’m too casual for that. I hope you don’t mind.

My plate – salad, salad, salad, beans, bread - perfect for me.

Banana pudding and/or peach cobbler are the traditional post-barbecue desserts. Well, peach season is over and all my bananas are frozen, so I came up with a trio of desserts that resided happily on a plate in perfect harmony. I made ED&BV’s Cashew Banana Ice Cream, Rice Krispy Peanutty Wafers, and Celine’s Brownie Cupcakes. I wish I had gotten a better plating and photo because it was top notch.

The Brownie Cupcakes are excellent, moist and chocolaty, but not densely fudgy. I had some really nice black cherry preserves in my version and they imparted a nice deep flavor. And I substituted in gluten free flour with no problem. Of course the Banana Ice Cream is always fabulous.

And the Wafers – you gotta try these! It’s so easy. Just mix together one cup rice krispies, ½ cup chopped peanuts, and 3 T. corn syrup, then add a pinch of salt. Spread onto a lightly greased baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove to a cold baking sheet while still warm. When completely cool, break into large pieces. It’s almost like peanut brittle without all the sticky sugar.

So… redemption for Sunday dinner!