Cooked: Vegan Raaka S’Mores

S’mores… Who doesn’t love the flavor fusion of decadent chocolate with soft pillowy toasted marshmallow sandwiched between crunchy sweet graham crackers? It’s something I’ve missed for a very long time and I’m going to go so far as to say this vegan S’mores creation far outweighs any other I’ve had, vegan aside. I think the secret was in the chocolate. I recently discovered a line of chocolate that I’m absolutely smitten with! It’s a company called Raaka! They ethically source their cacao beans, never roast them to leave the true flavors intact as to honor the essence of what chocolate is… They are also here in Brooklyn and make their handmade bars in small controlled batches. I recently signed up for their chocolate of the month mailings: BEST. DECISION. EVER.  For this particular vegan S’more, I chose their 75% dark bar that boasts tasting notes of golden plum, rice wine and pistachio. It’s truly something to behold. Another great bar for a S’more would be their vegan Coconut Milk or the Bourbon Cask bar. Yum!   For the marshmallows, I can’t find anything better out there than Dandies! Definitely go with these as they are flawless puffed delights sans gelatin.   IMG_4526   Ingredients:

  • Vegan Graham Crackers (I used Erewhon brand)
  • 1 bar of Raaka chocolate (I used 75% Madagascar)
  • Several vegan marshmallows ( I used Dandies)

Directions: There are actually a couple ways to pull this off, if you have access to a flame and want to roast your marshmallows the old fashioned way, by all means — please do it! I went ahead and just set the marshmallows on the graham crackers with a tray underneath (just in case!) on broil in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the marshmallows began to brown slightly. Next, place a couple squares of Raaka on the warm toasted marshmallows and close with another graham cracker! This is about as close to camping as I get, and boy is it delicious!   To check out more of what Raaka has to offer: http://www.raakachocolate.com/

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Cooked: Quinoa Mac n’ Smoked Cashew Cheese

It’s been awhile. I know. I’m putting myself in time out actually. It’s been far too long since my last post so I’m going to try and make up for some lost time and post a few recipes this week! Here’s the first one and it’s something I adapted after tasting the baked artichoke macaroni at one of my favorite vegan restaurants here in Brooklyn; M.O.B. It has this yummy creamy smokey cheese with pecans and a side of broccolini. Such a comfort meal and very satisfying! M.O.B. doesn’t use the quinoa macaroni that I prefer. I like to go with quinoa since it’s gluten free and makes me feel like I ate a healthy grain. So here we go…

IMG_4931

Ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz box of quinoa elbow pasta cooked according to directions (you can use shells, rotini, etc if you prefer!)
  • 1/2 lb of broccolini 
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (grade A or B)
  • a few handfuls of pecans
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Smoked Cashew Cheese (see below)

Smoked Cashew Cheese:

Combine the following in a high speed blender, except Olive Oil and blend while adding Olive Oil slowly to the moving blender. Add water to create the desired cheesy consistency.

  • 1 Cup Cashews (preferably soaked for 3-4 hours)
  • 1/3 Bell Pepper (yellow, orange or red)
  • A nice big pinch of smoked salt (or sea salt)
  • 1/3 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Liquid Smoke
  • Water, as needed

Directions:

In a pan on medium heat add some olive oil and sliced broccolini, cooking for 5-8 minutes until bright green and semi soft.

Mix pecans with maple syrup and spread on a nonstick parchment sheet and bake in oven for 5 minutes at 350. Careful not to overcook as this will begin to burn and smoke up your kitchen if you leave it in too long.

Add smoked cheese to cooked elbow macaroni and mix well. Serve with the candied maple pecans on top and grilled broccolini on the side. Enjoy!

Raw: BLAT Wraps

I had made a delicious raw mock “tuna” and a Dijon mayo dressing sauce to go with it last week and I actually ended up with more of the sauce/mayo than the mock “tuna”. I was pondering what I could use the rest of the mayo for when it suddenly dawned on me… Raw BLATs! So, here they are, people! I had at least 5-7 of these babies tonight and I was so pleased with how they turned out!

BLATs

Ingredients:

  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Tomatoes (sliced)
  • Avocado
  • Coconut Bacon (I used the Phoney Baloney brand)
  • Raw Cashew Dijon Mayo

Raw Cashew Dijon Mayo:

Combine the following in a high speed blender and blend until smooth!

  • 1/2 cup raw coconut water
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 cup raw cashews (you may also use pine nuts or macadamia nuts)
  • 1/4 cup stone ground mustard

Assemble the BLAT wraps by taking one romaine leaf at a time and putting several slices of tomato down, cubed avocado and a small handful of coconut bacon. Top with Dijon mayo and devour!

Raw: Sour Cream & Onion Kale Chips

I’ve had some of the store bought kale chips in this particular flavor and I did enjoy them, but let me just say… These ones are so much better! Not to toot my own horn or anything like that… Seriously, give these a shot. I just kind of threw the ingredients together by taste and ended up with something that I’m going to make again and again since they keep disappearing!

kalechips

Sour “cream” & onion mixture per one medium head kale:

  • 1 1/2 Cup Raw Cashews (soaked for 3-4 hours and drained)
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped White Onion
  • 2-3 Scallions
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • Water (as needed to make a creamy texture)

Combine all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend thoroughly until a very creamy texture is achieved. In a large bowl combine washed and torn pieces of kale with the sauce mixture and massage into kale until fully coated. Place on dehydrator sheets and set to 115′ F for 6-8 hours depending on desired crispiness.

Enjoy and repeat. Trust me, you’ll want to!

Product Review: Coconut Bacon by Phoney Baloney’s

coconutbacon

I attended The Seed on this past rainy Saturday in NYC with my beautiful fiance and a good vegan friend of ours . What an amazing paradise full of vegan food, products, information, yoga and people! I must have been in a vegan-coma-daze because I only took a couple of photos toward the end of the day and both didn’t really turn out well enough to post, sorry! At any rate, we picked up a few things that we’ve been partial to for awhile at the event like Treeline vegan nut cheese; who needs dairy anymore? One Lucky Duck raw chocolate chip cookies that taste heavenly! And some seaweed based caviar-like spread called Caviart. YUM!

One product we came home with was something we tried for the first time; coconut bacon!? I honestly was never a bacon die-hard or anything before I stopped eating animals nearly 8 years ago. Sure, I enjoyed it and I definitely remember what it tastes like, it’s not something you forget. Every once in awhile I’ll get a craving for something smoky and savory which I usually quench by making a BLAT (Tempeh Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, Tomato). The thing I like most about this coconut bacon is the very thin and crispy texture it has, unlike tempeh bacon. I also feel better about eating coconut than I do any soy product these days. This product is pretty awesome and versatile and the taste is… SPOT ON! Almost in a freakishly perfected way. I highly recommend this product to people who love that smoky, thin and crispy bacon taste and want to eat a completely plant-based replacement that is soy free and most importantly, ANIMAL free!

I could see myself using this on a baked potato, in a sinful rendition of vegan mac n’ cheese, on a BLAT sandwich, in a salad and MORE! The bag says it can even be used in baking… which strikes me as pretty weird, personally. Although I know the whole bacon dessert thing is in full swing these days with oddities like bacon chocolates, shakes, cupcakes and donuts. As long as you’re not hurting any of my pig friends to appease your peculiar food desires, I say pick up a bag of this awesome coconut bacon and knock yourself out!

Cooked: Avocado & Pinto Bean Enchiladas

enchiladas

Enchiladas are one of my favorite comfort foods of all time! My mother made amazing enchiladas when I was growing up and I hadn’t had them in ages as a vegan, until I came across this recipe below! I have doctored it up and changed a few things from the original — but isn’t that what cooking is all about afterall? “Making it yours”. So feel free to take what I’ve done and apply your own alterations, but trust me — this is one mean dish and I always add a bit of hot sauce, I can’t help it!

  • 9 -10 corn tortillas (6 inches each, I used Ezekial corn tortillas)
  • 1/2 – 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup onions, thinly sliced (I chose white onion)
  • 1 tsp mild chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can (14 oz) pinto beans, rinsed and patted dry (Pinto beans work nicely, but you can substitute black or kidney)
  • 1/2 c raw cashew pieces
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 medium avocados, peeled and pitted (about 1 – 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 jars (14.5 oz) prepared enchilada sauce (You’ll use about 2 1/2 cups, make sure it’s vegan! I used Frontera brand)
  • 3/4-1 cup vegan cheese, grated (I used cheddar Daiya; optional)
  • 1/2 c fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (optional but recommended)

Preheat oven to 400.  Place tortillas in a 8×12 inch baking dish, cover tightly with aluminium foil, and place in oven to soften for 5-10 minutes while preparing filling.  In a frying pan on medium heat, add oil, onions, chili powder, cumin, allspice, salt, and pepper and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Increase heat to medium-high, add mushrooms, beans, and cashews and saute for 5-6 minutes, tossing once to twice.  Immediately toss in lime juice and remove from heat to slightly cool.  In a large bowl, mash avocado and salt – this can be chunky.  Add veggie saute and lightly mix to incorporate.  Remove tortillas from oven, transfer to a plate, and cover with a tea towel to keep warm.  In the same baking dish, pour half of the enchilada sauce evenly over bottom.  Place 1/4-1/3 cup avocado-veggie mixture in center of each tortilla.  Roll tortillas up, tucking in sides as you go, and place seam side down in baking dish.  Pour remaining sauce over top, and cover with aluminium foil.  Bake for 16-18 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 4-5 minutes, until bubbling around edges.  If adding cheese, sprinkle on after casserole has baked for 15 minutes, then baking uncovered for another 6-7 minutes to melt cheese.  Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.  Serves 4.

Note: If corn tortillas dry out, re-soften by returning to oven in covered dish (or by coating with some enchilada sauce).