I think I just might have expanded my sphere of influence concerning vegan cooking to Chelsey Croft. Recently, I saw a post on her blog for Vegan Brownies. Well, I could not open this post fast enough. I was so excited for her and I. I was anxious to hear how her experience to create something vegan turned out. I am so glad that she followed through with her promise to make something. I am glad her sister enjoyed them.
I do hope that Chelsey tries her hand at baking something vegan again. :)
My journey to learn to cook vegan enough to convince others to give it a whirl was not easy.
I had been studying and researching veganism for quite some time. It is real easy to go vegan and not really know how to cook anything. I am thankful that I chose this project as it opened my world of knowledge far more than I thought it would.
Not only did I learn to cook I was getting practice using the technological skills taught to me through ECMP 355 by creating a blog to document my journey of learning. It was tough coming up with new and different ways to present my topic of the week in an engaging manner.
I encountered a few struggles along the way. First was choosing appealing recipes that I might enjoy. Ambitious as I am I just had to pick ones that were a little over the top - mozzarella, what was I thinking??? However, you know what it turned out fantastic. Not only did I make my own savoury pizza and the peach pizza with a fellow student, but it found itself between 2 slices of bread and grilled a few times. Not shy of being laid out on top of the peach pizza, the cheese willingly lay prostrate on a couple of more pizzas. Yummy!!
Next time though, I will not let it sit in the brine past a week or so. Why, well it seemed to become more waterlogged as the weeks went on. Maybe that is fine for real cheese? However, not this cheese.
Another was trying to find ingredients that were, heretofore, unfamiliar to me. I.e. Agar Agar, xanthum gum, kappa carrageenan, etc. Searching the internet for these sometimes turned up fruitless, i.e. lactic acid. However, I did discover that it is used in the brewing of beer through my searches.
It has been a very busy 6/7 weeks. Without this challenge I would have been chained to my very limited repertoire of pasta/sauce, oatmeal, salads, fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Now that I am cooking more my children are glad they do not need to 'feed' mom. Who knew!!
I have become more adventurous in trying to cook creative meals outside of my own plain cardboard box.
Did you know: that a vegan diet is anything but boring? Check out these menu plans with accompanying recipes.
Dear reader: would you be willing to go vegan like Oprah did with her staff of 378 for just one week?
Up Next: Vegan Banana French Bread
I have been waiting to make this last because the recipe seemed to to be difficult. It does have many steps but the end result is worth it.
These freeze beautifully. First freeze individually, including the sour cream, on a cookie sheet. When frozen wrap each in plastic wrap and then put in a large freezer bag. To enjoy just take what you need out and allow to thaw. Remove sour cream and heat the potato and bean mixture together. Then top with the sour cream. So yummy.
Ancho Chili Black Bean Potato Skins with Cilantro Lime Tofu Sour Cream
1/2 lb tofu crumbled (I used smoked firm tofu)
2 limes zest and juice
1 t rice vinegar
1/4 C virgin olive oil
2 scallions sliced thinly
pinch of salt
2 small jalapeno peppers sliced very thin and place in 1/3 C hot water (save this water)
1 small onion diced
1/4 C fresh cilantro chopped
2 T olive oil
2 C black beans
1 t dried coriander
4 small Russet potatoes
2 T tomato paste
pinch of salt
Cilantro Tofu Sour Cream
Place the tofu, oil, lime juice and zest, vinegar and salt in a blender. Blend on high for 60 seconds until smooth.
Chill for 1 hour before serving.
Saute minced onion and cilantro leaves in 2 T olive oil for about 3 minutes until translucent.
Add sliced jalapeno peppers, coriander and tomato paste to the sauted onions for another 3 minutes.
Add beans and water from soaked peppers to this mixture until the sauce thickens. Add a little salt.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Wash potatoes and put in a large pot. Cover with water and bring to boil. After water comes to a boil only allow to cook for 5 minutes.
Drain potatoes and add very cold water to potatoes. Let sit until cool
Cut each potato in half lengthwise and carefully remove the centers (uncooked part) with a melon baller or sharp spoon. Leave at least 1/4" of the potato next to the skin.
Drizzle olive oil on the tops and centers of the potatoes, season with salt and pepper and bake for about 15 minutes until golden and thoroughly cooked.
Once baked fill each hollowed potato with 1/4 C of hot bean mixture. Top with a generous tablespoon of Cilantro Tofu Sour Cream and some sliced scallions.
Ancho Chili Black Bean Potato Skins w/cilantro lime tofu sour cream (14:35 - 26:46)
In my blog Finding my Vegan Cooking Community I discuss the importance of finding like-minded friends. However, sometimes there is a non-vegan out there that just might want to dabble their taste buds in vegan fare, at least once. Kymber, the brave soul she is, suggested we make a pizza together. Woah, wait, what??? Oh shoot, now I need to clean my house, company is about to come over.
There was a little bit of curiosity, a bit of fearfulness - will my house be presentable enough, and a whole lot of anticipation. I was going to, actually, meet someone from my class who wanted to cook a vegan pizza. This time we are able to use the mozzarella that I made previously.
I believe it was about 6:00 pm that we agreed to start our project together. Kymber came to the door and, of course, I let her in. She came with peaches!! It is different meeting someone at your house who you have only seen in a Zoom video a number of times and read their blog a few times. We sort of became familiar with each other through those mediums so the meet and greet was not too awkward, at least not for me. You will need to visit her post on this occasion on her blog.
Let's get started...
Peach, Basil, Mozzarella Flatbread (2 pizzas)
2 pre-prepared pizza crusts
1 can peaches, thinly sliced
1/3 C chopped fresh basil
2 T olive oil
1/2 C balsamic vinegar
2 T honey
8 ounces of sliced vegan mozzarella
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Pour balsamic vinegar and honey into a deep skillet and reduce to about 1/2 the quantity over medium heat.
Brush pre-prepared pizza crusts with oil and layer thinly sliced mozzarella on top. Place peach slices over this.
Bake for 4 - 8 minutes until mozzarella is nicely melted and crust is lightly browned. Remove from oven.
Sprinkle with chopped basil and drizzle balsamic reduction evenly over top.
Did you know: that sometimes it is ok to meet up with strangers, especially students, for the first time. In contrast, meeting up with someone you have very little connection with needs some caution.
Dear Reader: Do you have an interest that someone else might share with you? How about taking the leap and getting to know a person you think is interesting?
Next up: Ancho Chili Black Bean Potato Skins w/cilantro lime tofu sour cream.
As I was gathering the ingredients together that I had on hand all was good until I needed chickpea flour. Reminiscent of my journey to find lactic acid, my journey took me to a store close to me, then to Sobey's - which has an impressive gathering of all sorts of flours, but, alas, no chickpea flour. I know where to go, I said to myself. The India Food Centre is the best for ethnic food and they had it. Bulk Barn carries it, too. They include the Nutrition Facts for chickpeas.
Besan Chana flour it is called. Not only is it a replacement as a gluten-free flour, but apparently, it does wonders for hair and skin, too.
Simple Vegan Quiche
1 1/4 C all purpose flour
6 T vegan Becel margarine
1/2 t salt
4 to 6 T ice cold water
2 1/2 C chana flour (chickpea flour)
3 C water
3 T olive oil
2 t sea salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 C chopped orange bell pepper
1/2 yellow onion chopped
2/3 C sliced fresh mushrooms
3 minced garlic cloves
1/2 to 3/4 C halved grape tomatoes
In a medium size bowl mix together with a pastry blender flour, salt and Becel vegan margarine.
Add water and mix gently with back of spoon until dough is gathered together.
Wrap in plastic food film and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
Bring dough out of fridge and gently roll out to just over 2" past the edges of the quiche pan. Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough around to lift onto pan. Then place over top of pan loosely and press into the pan. Use a rolling pin to roll across top of pan to cut off excess dough. Set aside.
In a medium bowl combine the chana flour with the water, olive oil, salt and pepper with a whisk.
Add chopped orange bell pepper, yellow onions, mushrooms, and garlic. Mix together well.
Pour one half of this mixture into the pie crust.
Place halved grape tomatoes generously on top of pie.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes with or without the crust. Great both ways.
To merge the three videos I created to show the process of this recipe, I used the video editor in YouTube. To learn how to use it I followed Cherie King's instructions.
Special Note: I uploaded my single videos that I made to youtube and realized that you can pick your category. The default is comedy. If I was not watching these would have ended up in with Jerry Seinfeld videos. Not of itself a bad thing. :0 In all seriousness these might do better under the education category.
Lonely Egg, I am so sorry, but I needed to leave you behind.
Did you know: that there are many egg replacements. Some examples are VeganEgg; various egg replacers, chia seeds, flax seeds, and even just the yolk vegan style from One Green Planet.
In conclusion, I did not add salt to any of the steps. The result was a very bland quiche. However, with salt sprinkled on top, on the bottom, and served with ketchup it was delicious!! Next time I will use salt.
Dear Reader: Have you ran out of eggs for some baking project and needed to find a replacement? What did you use? If you are allergic to eggs what do you use as a substitute? Share a recipe?
Next up: Cooking with Kymber. Hint - peaches.
One of my improvement goals is to connect with vegan cooking communities online. A few that caught my eye on Twitter are @sunnysidehanne, @MyVeganMealPlan , @vegancook101 , @cookingvegan to name a few. While browsing through One Green Planet's advice for new vegans, trying to find community I came across The Post Punk Kitchen Forums. This forum appears very active and current, including discussions covering a variety of life experiences as a vegan. Here are some of their food discussions.
Did you know there is an online vegan magazine called Chickpea Magazine. Although, the magazine is a paid subscription, whether print or online, there is a very good blog on their website. It includes topics such as How We Learned to Cook, Foods We Always Have Prepped, How Learning to Cook Changed My Life, etc. Barefoot Vegan is a free online magazine. The May/June 2017 issue is available her. It's 80 pages are chock full of articles, including a food and cooking section (p. 30 - 32).
Doesn't everyone want to peek into someone's cupboard? Of course you do. Come have a look at what is in a vegan's kitchen cupboards.
The hardest part of being vegan they say is meeting others who are vegan. How am I to make vegan friends so that my cooking repertoire can be shared, critiqued and exchanged? In essence, how to meet vegan friends? Well, first you find them online, because it is just a lot easier. :)
I searching further, I thought I would ask Google+ how to find communities. There are so many to choose from when I typed in vegan cooking. The ones of particular interest are Indian Food/Cooking Curries, Madame Scientist Cooks, and Vegan Breakfasts.
Finally, there are some live chats to follow. A couple of interesting ones are Happy Cow, and @VeganChatRoom.
Did you know: that when you see this symbol Ⓥ to the left of someone's name on Twitter it means they are vegan? How cool is that!!
In conclusion, through my research I have found not just one but many various and diverse cooking networks. From forums to magazines to meet-ups to Google+ communities to chat rooms I look forward to connecting with others of similar lifestyles and interest.
Dear Reader: How has your experience meeting others online who share similar interests worked out? What has been your best experience? Funniest?
Next up: "Egg" Pie - yep, you heard right!