Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Yellow Pepper Soup with Wild Mushroom Croutons

This is my "veganised" version of the soup. This recipe is a delicious lesson in how roasting sweetens and deepens the flavor of bell peppers. The peppers can be roasted a day ahead and refrigerated until you are ready to prepare the soup.


6 large yellow bell peppers
Cooking spray
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil object
1 cup chopped leek (about 1 medium size leek)
1 cup finely chopped peeled baking potato
1 cup chopped carrot
2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
1 bay leaf
1 cup water
2 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
4 cups chopped mixed mushrooms (such as cremini, shiitake, button, and oyster)
2 tblp dry white wine (I used red wine and it worked grrrreat)
1/2 tspn chopped fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tblp finely chopped parsley
1 tblp soy milk
2 tbsp vegan "butter" (Earth Balance)
1/8 tspn salt
1/8 tspn freshly ground black pepper
1 (8-ounce) French bread baguette, cut into 12 slices


Preheat oven to 500°.

Place peppers on a jelly-roll pan. Lightly coat peppers with cooking spray. Bake at 500° for 30 minutes or until blackened on all sides, turning occasionally. Place peppers in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 20 minutes. Peel and discard skins. Cut in half lengthwise; discard membranes and seeds.

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leek, potato, and carrot; cook 5 minutes. Stir in paprika and bay leaf. Add water and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are very tender. Stir in roasted pepper halves; simmer 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Stir in vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.
Place half of bell pepper mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid. Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining bell pepper mixture. Keep warm.


Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; reduce heat to medium. Stir in wine; cook 15 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Stir in thyme and garlic; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat, and stir in parsley, cream, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.
Place bread on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 5 minutes or until toasted. Place 1 heaping tablespoon mushroom mixture on each crouton. Serve croutons with soup.

Rating: soup 4 1/2 yums, croutons 5 yums

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Earl Grey Tea Cookies

Very grown-up cookies: delicate and not overly sweet.

cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tbsp Earl Grey tea leaves, from approximately 6 tea bags
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted vegan butter, cut into pieces (do not use Earth Balance, because it gives a slight aftertaste to the baked goods, and since the taste of Earl Grey is very subtle you should go with coconut oil, or any other vegan "butter")

Heat oven to 375° F. Pulse together all the dry ingredients in a food processor until the tea leaves are pulverized.

Add the vanilla, 1 tsp water, and the butter. Pulse together until a dough is formed.

Divide the dough in half. Place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a 12-inch log, about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Slice each log into disks, 1/3 inch thick. Place on parchment- or foil-lined baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake until the edges are just brown, about 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.

Rating: 4 yums (but will definitely try again with coconut oil)

Peanut Butter Munchies

A very fun-to-make cookies. They came out very chocolaty with a sweet peanuty center.

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup vegan butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 tsp of Ener-G egg replacer mixed in 2 tbsp of water (equivalent of 1 egg)
1 tbsp soy milk
1 tspn vanilla
3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tblsp granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat together "butter", the 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and the 1/4 cup peanut butter with an electric mixer until combined. Add "egg", soy milk, and vanilla; beat well. Beat in as much of the dry ingredients as you can with mixer. Stir in remaining dry ingredients by hand with a wooden spoon. Form chocolate dough into 32 balls about 1-1/4 inches in diameter. Set aside.

For peanut butter filling, in a medium mixing bowl combine powdered sugar and the remaining 1/2 cup peanut butter until smooth. Shape mixture into 32 (3/4-inch) balls.

On a work surface, slightly flatten a chocolate dough ball and top with a peanut butter ball. Shape the chocolate dough over the peanut butter filling, completely covering the filling. Roll dough into a ball. Repeat with the remaining chocolate dough and peanut butter filling balls.

Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Lightly flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped in the 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.

Bake cookies in preheated oven for 8 minutes or until they're just set and surface is slightly cracked. Let cookies stand for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool. Makes 32 cookies.

To Store: Place in layers separated by waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Rating: 4 1/2 yums (I would prefer them a bit more sweet)

Lemon Polenta Thins

For those of you who likes lemon here are the crispy, fresh, lemony cookies from the Veggie Life magazine.

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp finely minced lemon zest
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/4 cup oat flour (I use the quick cooking oats passed in the food processor)
1/2 tsp salt

4 tsp coarse raw sugar
4 tsp chopped pine nuts (wholnuts could be good too)
1 1/2 tsp minced lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350C. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat
In a medium mixing bowl, combine oil, sugar, and zest (food processor works great for this). Beat in lemon juice, then cornmeal, flour, and salt.

Note: the recipe promises thick but droopy dough .... mine was more like coarse crumbs that would nicely stick together to form a ball. Maybe I was using a different type of coconut oil (mine was hard, rather then liquid)

If your dough is droopy chill it for at least 30 minutes

In a small bowl stir together topping ingredients. Set aside.
Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls, at least 3 inches apart, onto prepared sheet. Using a small pointy spoon push a slight dimple into each dough circle and tip about 1/8 tsp topping into each depression.

Note: since my dough was hard, I had to make little thin circles out of it. They did not melt much during the cooking time so I placed them farely close to each other on the baking sheet.

Bake about 12 minutes, until cookies are thin disks with golden edges.

Makes ~ 3 dozens

Rating: 5 yums!!!!! I would give 6 if I could ;)

Brandied Cranberry-Apricot Bars

Another recipe from "100 best cookies" magazine. Very easy to make and very very tasty!!!!

1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup dark raisins
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup snipped dried apricots
1/2 cup brandy or water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup vegan butter (I used coconut oil)
3 tsp of Ener-G egg replacer, mixed with 4 tbsp of water (equivalent of 2 eggs)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup chopped pecans
Powdered sugar
Place raisins, cranberries, apricots, and brandy or water in a saucepan; bring to boil. Remove from heat and let stand for 20 minutes; drain.

For crust, in a medium mixing bowl stir together the 1 cup flour and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Cut in "butter" until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press into an ungreased 8x8x2-inch baking pan. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 20 minutes or until golden.

In a medium mixing bowl beat "eggs" with an electric mixer on low speed for 4 minutes; stir in the 1 cup brown sugar, the 1/2 cup flour, and vanilla just until combined. Add drained fruits and pecans; stir to mix. Pour fruit mixture over baked crust; spread evenly.

Bake about 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, covering with foil the last 10 minutes to prevent overbrowning. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. To serve, cut into squares. Makes 16 servings.

Make-ahead tip: Store in airtight container in refrigerator up to 48 hours.

Rating: 5 yums!

Citrus-Drizzled Cranberry-Oatmeal Cookies

Sweetened dried cranberries lend color and sweet-tartness to these oatmeal cookies. Make them up to three days ahead, and store in an airtight container.
My colleagues liked a lot these cookies, while I preferred the Polenta thins.


cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tsp of Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 4 tbsp of water (to replace 2 large eggs)
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
Cooking spray

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp grated orange rind

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare cookies, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, quick-cooking oats, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and ground nutmeg in a bowl.

Combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, and coconut oil in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add vanilla and egg replacer; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture and cranberries; beat at low speed until combined.

Shape dough into 55 (1-inch) balls. Place the balls 2 inches apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until almost firm. Let stand on the baking sheets 2 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheets; cool completely on a wire rack.

To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar and remaining ingredients in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Spoon mixture into a small zip-top plastic bag. Snip a small hole in 1 corner of bag; drizzle glaze over cooled cookies.

Yield: 55 cookies

Rating: 4 yums from me and 5 yums from my colleagues.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Vegan Shortbread

This is the recipe I found on the web. Apperantly it comes from PETA book.

Scotch Shortbread Cookies

1 cup vegan margarine
½ cup sugar
3 tsp almond extract
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 275
Cream the margarine and gradually add the sugar. Stir in the extract.
Work in the flour ½ cup at a time.
On a floured board knead the dough for at least 10 minutes.
Pat and roll the dough so it is ½ inch thick.

After I just made random shapes out of the dough and put the on the ungreased cookie sheet, leaving at least 1 inch spaces between them.

Poke each piece 2 or 3 times with a fork and bake for 30 minutes or until the cookies become slightly golden brown around the edges.

Viennese Coffee Balls

Another recipe from "100 Best Cookies"

2 cups crushed shortbread cookies
1-1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 cup finely chopped nuts
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons instant coffee crystals or instant espresso powder 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 to 5 tablespoons brewed espresso or strong coffee, or water
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
Sifted powdered sugar (optional)

1. In a large mixing bowl combine crushed cookies, the 1-1/4 cups powdered sugar, the nuts, cocoa powder, coffee crystals, and cinnamon. Add brewed espresso, coffee, or water, using just enough to moisten.
2. Form into 1-1/4-inch balls. Roll generously in the 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Place on a sheet of waxed paper and let stand until dry (about 1 hour). Store in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Before serving, roll again in powdered sugar, if desired. Makes about 30 cookies.
NOTE: I loved making and eating these chocolate-coffe balls. Some people found them too sweet ....... what do they know!!!! ;)
Rating: 4 1/2 yums yums

Apricot-Sage Cookies

This is the recipe from "100 best cookies" magazine - a special issue from "Better Homes and Gardens". I've veganized it by using coconut oil and vegan margarine (Earth Balance) instead of butter. I've also used soy milk and egg replacer.

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup vegan butter
2 tablespoons snipped fresh sage, lemon thyme, or rosemary, or 2 teaspoons dried sage or rosemary, crushed
3 tablespoons soy milk
1 tablespoon water
Fresh sage leaves (optional)
2 tablespoons apricot preserves

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl stir together flour, sugar, and cornmeal. Using a pastry blender, cut in "butter" until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling. Stir in fresh herb. Add milk and stir with a fork to combine. Form mixture into a ball and knead until smooth. Divide dough in half.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time until 1/8 inch thick. Using a 2-1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out dough.
3. If desired, top half of the cutouts with one or two small sage leaves. Sprinkle with sugar. Place cutouts 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
4. Bake about 7 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are very lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
5. Snip any large pieces of fruit in apricot preserves. Spread the bottoms of cookies without sage leaves with preserves. Top with sage-topped cookies, flat sides down. Makes 16 sandwich cookies.
To Store: Place in layers separated by waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature up to 3 days or freeze unfilled cookies up to 3 months. Thaw cookies; fill.

The cookies should be fairly thin. Experiment with a couple to get the right thickness of the dough.
Most of the sage leaves of my cookies dried up in the oven so I just sprinkled them with granulated sugar.
Be generous with the apricot preserve!!!

Rating: 5 yums!