Monday, April 25, 2011

My Easter Tradition

I love embracing my Polish side. Especially when it does not involve me doing something stupid to show my Polish side (sorry to all of you who are Polish and do not do stupid things, but it's a joke ok, get over it and love it!). I much so rather make some good-ole Polish food... pierogis! My favorite! I make them every year at Easter. I do not know when exactly I started to do this, but it has become one of my favorite things to do. For those of you who do not know what a pierogi is well here you go: they are a dumpling that are filled with potatoes, sauerkraut, cheese, meat, fruit, onions, or mushrooms. They can be boiled, baked, or fried and are usually served with butter, caramelized onions, sour cream, applesauce, and bacon. So yummy!

My version is a Mexico meets Poland style pierogi. I used my favorite 4 cheese Mexican Blend. I like a whole wheat dough, and I use oil no butter to serve mine, but plenty of onions (and plenty of heartburn later). My family would always have ham at Easter dinner, I do not eat that anymore, but a condiment that my great Aunt Lottie would always make is horseradish and beets. She would grate them together and it was oh so good. You can buy a premixed version of this in the store. It can be found in the aisle by the eggs, sour cream, and cheese. But the fresh version is so much better (and stronger) then the store bought. Horseradish (as my brother so perfectly described it) is the caucasion's wasabi, it is rather potent stuff, so beware. Since I was not eating ham, and I tried to eat that combination with pierogis last year and it doesn't good all that great together, I instead just roasted some beets for me to eat this year, a more successful combination. So here you go:


3 cups whole wheat white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup cold water, plus extra if needed

Mix the flour and salt together.

Add the oil and water and start to combine them adding more water a teaspoon at a time as needed if the dough is too dry. If the dough becomes to wet add some more flour to it.

Once the dough forms a nice ball, knead the dough for a minute then let it rest.

Cut the dough into 1/2 ounce portions. Place a damp cloth over the dough until you need to use it.

4 Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup cheese (cheddar, or I used 4 Cheese Mexican Blend reduced fat)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup carmelized onions

Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Boil until the potatoes are soft, you can place a knife into them and it comes out easily. Drain.

Place potatoes in a bowl, mash them.

Add the salt and pepper, cheese, and onions, and fold all of this together.

Grab a fork, some cold water in a bowl. a rolling pin,

a pan lined with parchment and coated in flour, and a spoon.

Roll the dough to a 1/4 inch thick, they should be a small circle.

Off to one side, almost in the center, add a tablespoon of the filling (pierogis are usually very full of filling). Damping the edge of one side of the dough with the cold water. Fold the dough over the filling to meet edge to edge.

Press together slightly with the your fingers, then seal with the fork.

Continue until you are done.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the pierogis to the water. They will sink, then come float to the top, and let them boil for 3 minutes. Drain them. You can add them to the pan with caramelized onions and oil, but do add some oil to them so they do not stick together. Serve them up with condiments of choice.

They came out great. My mom, older brother, and I all love pierogis. My mom is still slightly against the whole wheat dough, but after the first one, she doesn't protest anymore. To me they taste way better then any frozen box ever could. Booyaa!

I have given my pierogis out to some friends over the years and I do hope they have enjoyed them.

What to make next?....

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Chocolate And Stout...

What a combination. I had made (for St. Patty's Day) Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes and found out that chocolate and stout smell delicious together. So I had to figure out a vegan recipe for me to try out the combination. In one of my cookbooks, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, I found just that, a Chocolate Stout Cupcake. For work I was thinking of making a chocolate coconut cake, but the chef I work for asked me how I felt of doing a take on a black and tan. So I was thinking yea sounds fun. I knew I had the recipe and I wanted to try it out, here was my chance. I decided to still top the cake with chocolate sauce and toasted coconut. I need to investigate vegan beers and other brews so I can play around even more with alcoholic baked goods. My momma and I were toying around with the idea of making different types of cakes with different alcoholics in them, but that is yet to come. So I made the cake recipe as it told me to, yes I followed the recipe exactly for once, the only thing I did do was double it to make enough for dinner service and for the recipe to fit in a 13x9 inch pan. Here is how my dessert came out and the recipe:

Chocolate Stout Cake

Crumb Topping:
1/4 cup all purpose flour (I of course used whole wheat white)
1/4 cup cocoa powder (Dutch-processed)
1/4 cup sugar (I used Florida crystals, which is a raw sugar)
2 tablespoons canola oil

3/4 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup stout
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Confectioners' sugar for dusting cupcakes for service, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, line muffin tin with paper liners.

For the crumb topping:

In a small bowl sift the flour, cocoa, and sugar. Slowly drizzle in the oil as you toss the mixture with a fork (or use your hands like I do). Crumbs will start to form, you may not need to add all of the oil.

For the cake:

Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and powder, and salt together.

Add the stout, sugar, oil, and vanilla to the soy milk mix and beat until foamy.

Add liquid to dry in two batches (or you can do it their way and add dry to wet in two batches) and beat for 2 minutes.

Pour into liners, filling them three-quarters of the way.

Gently sprinkle with the crumb topping, trying not to let the crumbs sink into the batter. Bake 20 to 22 minutes.

Once cooled dust with powdered sugar. This recipe is for 12 cupcakes.

So I made them with the sugar for service, but I had some left over beer and I wanted to use it, but I was out of sugar and I wanted to actually eat these. There is a recipe for agave nectar cake (which I have made and is really good) that got me thinking. Let's use this recipe, make it chocolate and add the stout. Good idea, I know! So I did just that. I had only 1/4 cup of soy milk left and 1/2 a cup of beer, so I used the beer in place of some of the soy milk.

Agave Nectar Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

1/4 cup whole wheat white flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 tablespoons canola oil

Mix the flour and cocoa together. Add the agave and oil and mix to make crumbly. (This time I used a spatula to mix them together, then I used my hands to make it crumbly. A way better idea I might add.)

1/4 cup soy milk
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup oil
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup stout
1 1/3 cup whole wheat white flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line cupcake pan with liners. Mix the soy milk and vinegar. Combine all dry ingredients together. Add the agave, oil, stout, and vanilla to the soy milk. In two bathes, add the liquid to the dry. Beat for 2 minutes. Fill the cupcake pan 3/4 full with batter. Top with the crumb and bake 20 to 22 minutes.

For both cakes I had to bake them longer than what they stated in the recipe. The 13x9 inch took 35 minutes (which I knew it would be longer) but the cupcake took 25 minutes or so.

So there you go, they came out great, both types.

Here are some other pictures from Friday's meal:

Perogies filled with potato and sauerkraut topped with caramelized onions and red chile oil.

Rice cake over mixed greens with guacamole, caramelized onions, asparagus, and toasted hazelnuts.

I will be making my own fresh peroiges for Sunday, so expect that recipe to come.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I'mmm Sooorrryyy

So if you have never seen the movie WANTED then you will not get my title.

I am sorry I have not posted anything for about a month. Here are my excuses:
1. I was working like crazy.
2. I was fasting from the internet for 3 weeks during a fast with my church. (I would have warned you all a head of time but due to work I hadn't been able to do anything.)

Ok so I only have 2 excuses. But my new job will be contributing to my blog because it deals with vegan food! Nice, I know.

Since I haven't posted anything in a while I have two recipes to share with you.

I made a soup for dinner for a friend one night and this is what I made:

Black Bean Soup

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 yellow pepper, small dice
1 green pepper, small dice
1/2 onion, small dice
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
zest and juice of one lemon
1 cup vegetale broth
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano, dried
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander

Heat oil in large pot, add onions. Saute until onions are translucent.

Add in the pepper and garlic, cook until peppers are soft, about 8 minutes.

Add the spices, tomato paste, and lemon zest and juice.

Let that cook for 3 minutes, top with black beans. Then add the vegetable broth and 1/2 cup of the water. You want the liquid to just cover the beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes. If the soup is too thick add the other 1/2 cup of water.

Either using a blender, food proccessor, or a hand blender, blend half the soup. If using the hand blender do not blend it completly but pulse to blend the soup.

Add the soup back to pot (if you used the blender), along with the corn and simmer for another 10 minutes.

I toped the soup with fresh tomatoes, black olives, and guacamole.

It was good and my friend enjoyed it too and it was a nice time seeing her during the week.

Recipe number two:

I love oatmeal cinnamon raisin cookies. mine usually have tons of cinnamon, walnuts, and lots of raisins. But I wanted to have a twist on these cookies. I looked through Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar and found a recipe that I had thought about trying before. So I did, try it, well sort of. I had to add my twist to it of course. I wanted to add coconut to the cookies and I had went to Trader Joe's and purchased their jumbo raisin mix, which I have had before and like, so I wanted to add that to the cookies, as well. This is what I came up with:

Coconut Fruity Oat Cookies

3 cups old- fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup wheat germ (I did not have wheat germ, so I added wheat bran)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (my teaspoon is slightly larger then others, it looks more like a tablespoon when it comes to cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut, grated unsweetened
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoon applesauce
1/4 cup black sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 1/2 cups jumbo raisin medley
extra water if necessary

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Parchment line two baking sheets.

In a large boil, mix oats, spelt flour, wheat germ, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.

Add the coconut and seeds.

In another bowl or a large measuring cup, mix the flax seeds and water.

Add the vanilla, oil, agave nectar, syrup, and applesauce.

Make a well in the center of the dry mix, add the wet mixture and slowly combine the two. Add in the raisins.

If the dough is too dry add extra water slowly until the dough comes together but is not too sticky.

Form into cookies and bake for 16 minutes, turning the pans and swapping the pans halfway through the bake time.

They are good, even with all the crazy stuff inside them. The original recipe has them become bars with dried cranberries, pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and other dried fruit. I like to be different, what can I say.

So some things I have been making at my job:
Tomato Herb Bread

Banana Tiramisu

I don't have pictures for these but I also made chocolate raspberry bars, lemon raspberry bars with an almond crust, focaccia bread, flat bread, pan di ceci, apple/asain pear crisp, and asain pear chai crisp.

So please forgive me and don't worry I will be posting more... I promise.

Here are some dinners I have made for myself:
Stir fry salad:

Asain eggplant and baby corn with edamame:

Oh and I need to find burdock root! I tried it once for the first time, roasted and it was delicious. I need to find some to try it again.

Until next time...