Monday, July 27, 2009

Plum Pear Cardamom Crisp

Perhaps not the most summery thing to make, but I was up early on a Sunday morning listening to Joanna Newsom, and I happened to have some plums and lots of pears (but alas, no peaches), and then this was invented, based on the Apple Cherry Crisp recipe from The Everyday Vegan by Dreena Burton. Enjoy!

Plum Pear Cardamom Crisp

Fruit mixture:
5 pears, sliced
2 plums, sliced
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
seeds of half a vanilla bean (or maybe 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1 teaspoon cardamom
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 dash nutmeg
1 dash salt

Crisp topping:
1 cup rolled oats
¼ cup hazelnuts
1 teaspoon cardamom
seeds of half a vanilla bean (or maybe 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1 dash salt
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all fruit mixture ingredients in a lightly oiled baking dish, mix well and set aside (you could do it in another bowl first, but I’m lazy and this way works). Now grind the hazelnuts in a food processor. Add the oats, cardamom, vanilla seeds and salt and process until the oats are mostly ground. Now mix the maple syrup and oil in with your fingers. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit mixture, lightly pat it down, and put the dish in the oven. Bake for about 35 minutes, until bubbling around the edges and lightly browned. Serve with some yogurt or ice cream.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Roasted Potatoes with Pumpkin Seed-Arugula Pesto and Peas

Ok, I'll admit that I'm not actually that original - I tried yummy roasted pesto-potatoes at this restaurant in Victoria, and I thought to myself, "I could do this at home pretty easily," and then I did. And I got the idea for making arugula pesto from this recipe - I love basil pesto as much as the next person, but I can't grow basil in my garden and it's kind of expensive to buy. But the rest is all me.

This is great pretty much any time of day - as a breakfast side dish, a dinner side dish, or a snack. And the pesto on its own makes a yummy sandwich spread.

Roasted Potatoes with Pumpkin Seed-Arugula Pesto and Peas

The Pesto part:

½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
¼ cup nutritional yeast
3 cloves garlic, sliced
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 large bunch of arugula

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet for a couple of minutes (until they start to color), then grind them in a food processor. Add all the other ingredients except arugula and blend until very smooth, then add the arugula and blend again.

The Potato and Pea part:

1 1/2 - 2 lbs potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks (I used halved baby potatoes)
1/2 cup pumpkin seed-arugula pesto
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste (depends on the saltiness of the pesto)
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup fresh or frozen peas

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the potatoes, the 3 tablespoons pumpkin seed-arugula pesto, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread on a lightly oiled baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, tossing every 10-15 minutes. Add the peas, toss, and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until golden and tender.

Pestotatoes, anyone?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Nanaimo Bars - margarine-free!

I've been on a nanaimo bar kick lately for some reason, after not having had any for at least seven years. I was using Sarah Kramer's recipe for awhile, but the 1 cup of margarine in every batch made me feel bad. Not that I am against fat (or sugar, for that matter), but margarine is just so processed and devoid of nutritiousness that I can't justify using a whole cup in a recipe.

So, given that Canada day is tomorrow (and tomorrow has already come, in many parts of the country), I bring you this Canadian delicacy, a tweaked version using primarily coconut oil and avocado for the fat and buttery creaminess. The avocado adds a lovely green color as well. It does not taste any healthier, that is for sure! In the future I may start subbing ground outs and sugar for the cookie crumbs as I don't see why they are really necessary, but this is my current version.

Oh and also, please excuse the messy photos! I royally suck at cutting things (which is why you see more whole cakes and pies than slices of them on this blog...). Please attribute the messiness to my lack of skill and not the recipe itself!

Nanaimo Bars

Bottom Layer:
½ cup coconut oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ cup cane sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder (dutch-processed is best)
2 tablespoons flax meal
5 tablespoons cold water
½ cup walnuts
1 ¼ cup flaked or finely shredded (or whatever) unsweetened coconut
1 cup vegan graham cracker-ish cookies

Middle Layer:
1 avocado
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon milk (I used coconut because I had it, but soy, almond or rice should also work)
2 tablespoons arrowroot
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Top Layer:
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 pinch salt
100 g good quality dark chocolate

First, prepare the bottom layer. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan on low heat, then add the salt and sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the cocoa powder and stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Meanwhile, process the vegan cookies in a food processor until they become a fine meal. Add the walnuts and lightly pulse, until the walnuts are finely shopped but not powdery. Mix the flax and water in a small bowl, then add to the food processor along with the coconut and chocolate sauce. Process until well-mixed. Press evenly into an ungreased square baking pan and set aside.

Now prepare the top layer. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan and add the chocolate and salt, stirring often. Once melted, remove from heat (the top layer is prepared before the middle one because it needs time to cool down).

Now the middle layer. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender, and blend really well.
Spread the middle layer mixture evenly over the bottom layer, then pour the chocolate sauce on top. Put in the fridge for an hour or so to cool, then transfer to the freezer (otherwise the middle layer will get quite gooey). Before serving, let set at room temperature for a few minutes so the chocolate doesn’t crack when you try to cut it into squares.

Happy Canada day, everyone!