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Salt and Pepper Tofu

5 Oct

When I was in 6th grade my teacher, Mrs. Dagle, gave the class a get-to-know-you survey. She asked for everyone’s favorite color, book, food, etc. I remember answering my favorite food as “anything except tofu.” I hated the texture of tofu for years-I would often buy it and leave it in the fridge for weeks until I finally cooked it, only to throw half away. Salt and pepper tofu was the first recipe I tried where I really enjoyed the texture and the taste. Something about frying tofu to give it a crunchy texture made it more palatable to me.

I bookmarked this recipe years ago and it’s become a favorite for busy weeknights. I’ve also experimented with cooking the tofu in sauce afterwards, but I prefer to leave it crunchy just the way it is. Feel free to use it in other dishes or as a beginning step to making barbeque tofu.

Salt and Pepper Tofu

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Soy Yogurt

10 Sep

So you want to make your own yogurt? I said the same thing a couple years ago and have tried many different methods, milks, cultures, etc. The great thing about yogurt is that once you have a culture going, you can keep culturing multiple batches. It’s kind of like friendship bread in that way. The first method I tried was using a slow cooker to heat the milk to just under scalding, then letting it come back down to culturing temperature and culturing in the pot in an oven. It worked quite well, but never got extremely thick. If you don’t have an Instant Pot or yogurt maker, I would highly recommend this method.

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Culturing needs to be done at 110°F, which is why an Instant Pot or yogurt maker will work best. I always sterilize all of my tools and yogurt containers before starting this. You can either use a dishwasher to sterilize or boiling water, whatever works best for you.

There are several different brands of yogurt culture available. I tend to use Belle + Bella, but Cultures for Health and any other non dairy yogurt can be used. If using non dairy yogurt, use somewhere 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup to start your culture.

I use either Westsoy Organic Unsweetened or Silk Unsweetened Soy Milk to make my yogurt, but try to use it upon first opening it. If you use it after it has already been open, there’s a chance that other bacteria can contaminate the batch and grow during the culturing.
You can also use homemade soy milk, if you want to go to that much effort. Other plant milks won’t thicken well because of the lack of protein, but the cornstarch can help them come close to the thickness of dairy yogurt.

If you don’t mind a little sweetness, you can add a little sugar which will help the yogurt culture quickly. You can also use a premade vanilla soymilk with added sugar if you want a sugary yogurt (it will still have less sugar than the store-bought kind.) The bacteria in yogurt use sugar as food, so the more sugar in the milk the quicker it will culture.

This yogurt can also me made without the cornstarch, but it won’t be as thick as pictured. I’ve found I prefer the texture of the thicker yogurt and straining with a cheesecloth has never helped me much.

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If your cornstarch clumps on you, and immersion blender can be used in the pot to break up the clumps. Cornstarch does tend to cause a skin to form, so be sure to give it regular stirs in the pot to avoid this. I use a regular instant read thermometer to check the temperature, but if you miss the 108-112°F window, you can easily heat it up a bit to get it to the right temperature.

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Fruit Snacks

7 Sep

These are super easy and fun, and a great way to use up excess juice without wasting it. Pineapple juice was my fruit juice of choice, but I’m going to use cranberry and apple next! I made these using a silicon mold from Amazon, which made the fruit snacks very easy to remove.

Fruit Snacks

The only note I have for these is to make sure your mixture comes to a thorough boil so the agar activates. If you have to use flakes instead of powder, increase the agar to 3 tablespoons.

Fruit Snacks

 

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Galaxy Macarons

4 Sep

My first attempt at these were a failure; albeit a beautiful failure. People seemed to think they were pretty cool, so I wanted to share the recipe anyway. BUT since I’m a bit obsessive, I wanted to make sure they worked as an actual macaron with feet and everything.
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Spoiler:they do.

If you want to have these just as “almond galaxy cookies” add extra color and bake them immediately without the resting period. If you do want macarons, make sure to rest and go lightly with the gel color.

Galaxy Macarons

Galaxy Macarons

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If this is your first time here, be sure to check out Charis’s recipes at Floral Frosting, as she is the creator of this recipe. She’s got some beautiful recipes there, her buttercream is one of our favorites! You also should take a look at the Vegan Meringue Facebook group for more amazing recipes. If you have trouble with the directions, try reading my troubleshooting guide for a little more in depth description.

Galaxy Macarons

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Pizza Hummus

4 Sep

If you’ve read any other recipes on this site, you’ll surely notice that I’ve mentioned my favorite foods are pizza and sushi.

A few weeks ago, someone shared a recipe for pizza hummus from Chocolate Covered Katie and I knew my next batch was going to have to be pizza flavored. Since the prompt for yesterday’s VeganMoFo was “quick, easy, and delicious” this recipe seemed like a great choice.

We’ve gone through a lot of chickpeas making aquafaba, but when I make hummus, I make a LOT of hummus. We eat all but a small portion, and then we don’t want hummus again for weeks. I like to use my chickpeas as protein in other recipes like this curry, this chipotle chickpea salad, and fried rice.

I haven’t had a beer recommendation in a while, but despite the hot weather, we’re already in pumpkin beer mode here. I’m currently drinking this Pumpkin Smasher from a local brewery in Illinois.

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(I borrowed this picture from their website.) I usually stick to the Pumpkin Ale from Schlafly brewery but this is a nice alternative. Speaking of Schlafly, I spent 2 hours on my birthday weekend touring the facilities with the owner. It was quite the birthday present and we got to try plenty of samples, straight from the tap.

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But back to hummus…I’ve found the key to silky smooth hummus is removing the skins. This takes forever, but is totally worth the effort and becomes kind of relaxing after a while. I suggest washing your hands thoroughly beforehand, as you don’t want any icky germs in your hummus.

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Ham and Cheese Quiche

2 Sep

To tell the truth, I’ve only ever eaten quiche once in my life. I remember it’s silken fluffy texture well, but I haven’t thought about it in years. I saw this recipe from Minimalist Baker and I thought, “well, I have an hour before work, might as well.”

Ham and Cheese Quiche

I changed my filling a bit and decided to make the entire thing in a cast iron skillet, because I often think I should cook in cast iron more. Thinking back on it, I should have doubled the filling because of the increase in size. I bet this would work really well in a pie pan as well; it would come out quite a bit thicker. I’d also like to petition that all quiches be made with a hash brown crust, because that stuff is delicious. Pastry crust would work to, but the only downfall is it’s not potatoes.

Ham and Cheese Quiche

This makes a perfect meal for demolishing before work or when you baby wakes you up at 4 a.m. or breakfast, lunch, and dinner for an entire day.

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Yuba Ribs

31 Aug Yuba Ribs

I saw this recipe for vegan ribs and knew I was going to have to try it. We’ve had it twice since, because I purchased a massive package of yuba sheets from my local International store. Miyoko calls for dried bean curd sticks in her recipe, but yuba sheets are an easy substitute and you can control the size of your ribs.
Yuba Ribs

I subbed a barbecue sauce a client of mine gave me. She finally got back to me with the recipe, so I’m able to share it here! There’s a bit of spice and Asian flavor which make this recipe awesome with a good IPA. However, if you’re lazy, use your favorite bottled sauce.

Yuba Ribs

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Vegan Blue Moon Ice Cream

30 Aug

Unless you’re from the Midwest like me, you probably have never heard of Blue Moon as ice cream before. This actually has nothing to do with the beer, although I have to imagine they would both taste quite nice together.

No one really knows the true flavor of blue moon, but it always tasted quite fruity to me. I imagine someone just thought “hey, let’s try to mix ALL the flavors together” and just went with it. Which is exactly what I went with here, and the flavor is spot on.

A few tips: stir the ice cream a few times in the freezer. I didn’t do this and it ended up a bit icy. The meringue will flop when you add it to the coconut milk but that’s ok, it will still add texture and size to your ice cream. I like Wilton sky blue coloring but you can use any blue coloring that works for you.
Vegan Blue Moon Ice Cream

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Mozzarella Aquafaba Cheese

24 Aug

If you don’t know, I’m pretty excited about this. Every vegan I’ve ever met in real life has said the hardest thing to give up was cheese and every non vegan has told me that they would never be able to give up cheese. Fortunately, due to amazing chefs like Miyoko Schinner, Jay Astafa, Somer McGowan, and Skye Michael Conroy, we are able to enjoy cheese-like products, without the cruelty. I’ve made several forays into the world of vegan cheese and learned a lot of different techniques from many different recipes. The particular recipe that I drew inspiration from for this is the cashew mozzarella developed by Jay Astafa. You can watch the YouTube video here. I noticed he uses soy lecithin as an emulsifier, which aquafaba has been shown to do in recipes like Nina’s butter and Peanut Butter and Vegan’s mayo. This inspired me to make this cashew mozzarella using aquafaba as the emulsifier. It also makes this recipe soy free, conveniently, for those who are intolerant.

Vegan cheese doesn’t create casein protein strands like dairy cheeses do, which is why we use tapioca starch to create that stretchy texture. Some places may have it labeled at tapioca flour, but they should be interchangeable. I find mine at an international market for a cheaper price. You can also add a bit of xantham gum to increase the stretchiness. If you don’t have any, feel free to omit it, the cheese will still be delicious! I use vegan lactic acid powder to create that dairy-like tang in this recipe. It’s definitely worth the purchase, but if you cannot buy it, substitute a tablespoon of lemon juice instead. Nutritional yeast also adds to this cheesy flavor. Refined coconut oil helps with firmness upon refrigeration and improves the mouthfeel and melt. Please use coconut oil that is solid at room temperature. Cashews can possibly be subbed for raw sunflower seeds for those with allergies.

Most vegan cheeses use either agar or kappa carrageenan as a binder to be sliceable and shreddable. I choose to use kappa carrageenan, as I prefer the melt and mouthfeel it imparts. I am well aware that many people choose not to consume it and I completely respect that; this recipe may be possible with agar powder, but I have not tested it. If you do test it, please contact me with your results!

Edited to add: Several people have tried with equal amounts of agar and have had a hard time getting it to set. I would suggest doubling the amount of agar powder (use 1 tablespoon and 1 tsp). Xanthan gum will not replace the carrageenan, it’s not a firm binder like carrageenan is, just a thickener.

Mozzarella Aquafaba Cheese | Avocados and Ales

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If you like this recipe, be sure to check out these other vegan cheese recipes:

Meltable Soy-based Mozzarella

Soy/Cashew Buffalo Mozzarella

Smoked Coconut Gouda

Almond Milk Pepperjack

Vegan Mozzarella

Moxarella

The Vegan Meringue group on Facebook is a great place for more aquafaba recipes as well.

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Mozzarella Aquafaba Cheese

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Cinnamon and Sugar Macarons

16 Aug cinnamon and sugar macarons

Do you remember the brown sugar and cinnamon Poptarts?? (Not sure if that needs a copyright symbol.) These were a middle of the night “I need to remake my cinnamon roll macarons” idea. Despite aiming for cinnamon roll flavor, eating these reminded me of my favorite Poptarts.

cinnamon

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If this is your first time here, be sure to check out Charis’s recipes at Floral Frosting, as she is the creator of this recipe. She’s got some beautiful recipes there, her buttercream is one of our favorites! You also should take a look at the Vegan Meringue Facebook group for more amazing recipes. If you have trouble with the directions, try reading my troubleshooting guide for a little more in depth description.

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