Sunday, February 27, 2011

EASY DELICIOUS VEGAN | Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry

I was never a Chinese take-out person. Instead, I opted for pizza. Or a Philly Cheesesteak. But in my pre-vegan days growing up in Philadelphia, anytime I found myself forced to be a part of a Chinese take-out order, my choice was always Beef and Broccoli. Faced with a package of frozen Gardein Beefless Tips and no desire to make stew as the back of the package suggested, last Sunday I decided to revisit those days of my past. I got out the wok and whipped up a super quick Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry.

The thing about this stir-fry is — as it is with most stir-frys — you probably have just about everything you need to make it already in your home. It’s a last-minute, easy, tasty meal. If you’re like me and often find yourself accommodating both pure veggies and omnivores, this dish is incredibly easy to make suitable for everyone: You can make it pure vegetarian with Gardein Beefless Tips or seitan, or you can use beef. It’s entirely up to you.

Before I list the Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry ingredients and recipe, I wanted to give you all a sneak preview of some upcoming features and recipes that’ll be popping up on KLB within the next few weeks.

Last Saturday I was lucky enough to spend a good part of the day getting to know local chef and two-time Chopped champion Cody Utzman a little better at his latest Greenpoint, Brooklyn neighborhood venture, Cafe Royal. Cody was nice enough to let the KLB crew come and photograph him for an upcoming interview. At the time we met, Cody was finishing his application to star on Top Chef. We wish him luck!

And I wanted to give a quick Thank You to KV for sending in a lovely eggless Banana Bread recipe to be fully veganized — I'll share the results soon. If you have a recipe of your own (or one that you’ve seen on TV, or found in a book or online) that you’d like to see veganized, send it to me at kitchenlaboheme [at] gmail [dot]
com. I’ll take on the project of veganizing it for you, and post the final recipe on the blog.

As for the Beef and Broccoli, the recipe is below. The verdict is still out on the Beefless Tips. I used them just as they were out of the package, but would consider slicing them in half or into small strips, and I might even prefer to try seitan in this recipe next time.


3 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
1/2 cup water, plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 package Gardein Beefless Tips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 package frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1/3 cup tamari
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh, finely grated ginger
hot cooked rice (as much as you prefer)

To start: In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 tablespoons water and garlic powder. Stir until smooth. Add Beefless Tips and toss. In another small bowl, combine tamari, brown sugar, ginger and remaining cornstarch and water. Stir until smooth; set aside.

In a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat, stir-fry Beefless Tips in 1 tablespoon oil until they reach desired doneness; remove from wok, set aside in a small bowl and cover to keep warm.

Next: Stir-fry broccoli and onion in remaining oil for 4-5 minutes. Return Beefless Tips to pan. Add the tamari mixture to the pan. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.

Serve immediately over rice.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Recipe Trial Club Tries Brooklyn Blackout Cake

I think I've written about the Recipe Trial Club before, a small group of like-minded plant-based foodies — Dawne Eng, Terry Hope Romero and Mattie Hangedorn — who I meet up with once a month to share and test recipes. This month it was Dawne's turn to host, and she made her own amazing pure veg version of the famed Ebinger's Blackout Cake to share with us.

We all met at Dawne's place last Sunday to share good conversation and good food, including Dawne's homemade Southwestern vegetable soup, Terry's steamed veggie bao, Mattie's apple turnovers, saison (a Farmhouse Ale style of beer), Dawne's homegrown kefir water (fermented sweetened water) and the star of the day, Brooklyn Blackout Cake.

For more about Ebinger's and their famous Blackout Cake, and for Dawne's pure veg Brooklyn Blackout Cake recipe, visit her blog: Plant Based Foodie

Dawne slices the cake; Brooklyn Blackout Cake ready to serve

Steamed Veggie Bao, coconut kefir water, and sweet kefir water/grains in a jar; Terry about to try coconut kefir water

Dawne and Mattie sipping coconut kefir water; Apple Turnovers and Saison

Thursday, February 10, 2011

EASY DELICIOUS VEGAN | Deep Red Velvet Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Frosting

Valentine's Day is just around the corner. What are you making for your sweetheart? This morning I whipped up a practice batch of Deep Red Velvet Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Frosting. They turned out fabulous — so moist and delicious.

I used Dutch-process cocoa powder in this recipe to give them a hint of deeper flavor (and color) but regular cocoa powder would work just as well. You can also omit the almond flavor, or use just a drop in the frosting if you're not a fan.



For the Batter
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons red food coloring
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

For the Frosting
1/4 cup vegetable shortening (recommended: Earth Balance, nonhydrogenated)
1/4 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
dash of red food coloring
almond slivers for garnish

To start: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line muffin tins with cupcake liners. Whisk the almond milk and vinegar together in a small bowl and set aside (it will curdle).

Prepare the batter: Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder into a large bowl and mix until blended.

Grab the bowl containing your curdled almond milk and add the oil, food coloring, vanilla extract and almond extract to it. Whisk well to combine all of the ingredients. Fold the almond milk mixture into the dry ingredients, until large lumps disappear.

Bake the cupcakes: Fill cupcake liners with about 1/4 cup of batter each. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes and transfer to a counter or cooling rack to cool completely.

In the meantime, make the frosting: Beat the shortening and Earth Balance butter together with a hand mixer until well combined and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes. Add the vanilla, almond extract, almond milk and red food coloring, and beat for another 5 to 7 minutes until fluffy.

Using a pastry bag (or a plastic sandwich bag with one corner cut off) fitted with a star tip, pipe frosting onto cupcakes — you should have just enough for 12 cupcakes if you're piping, and if you require extra, the frosting recipe doubles perfectly. Garnish each cupcake with an almond sliver.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

VEGANIZE IT | Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Sandwich Cookies

The Whole Foods market near my family's home sells these amazing, vegan oatmeal raisin cookies filled with buttercream frosting — whenever I'm home I have at least one (and eat it all in one sitting). I was craving one of those amazing cookies over the weekend, so I figured I'd try making some of my own.

I came across a great Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe from Smitten Kitchen, veganized it, added some extra spice and omitted the walnuts. I kept it simple with the frosting and whipped up an adaptation of Isa and Terry's Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

A note for those omnivorous readers who aren't quite ready to give pure vegetarian baking a try: these cookies are easy to de-veganize. Just use real butter instead of Earth Balance, use one large egg instead of the flax meal/water mixture listed below, and butter and cow's milk in the frosting... Or you could make a special trip to your local Whole Foods, pick up some Earth Balance, some golden flax meal and some almond milk, and start baking the pure veg way. You won't even know the difference in the finished cookies!



For the Cookies
1/2 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread, softened (recommended: soy free)
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons golden flax meal
3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup raisins

For the Frosting
1/4 cup vegetable shortening (recommended: nonhydrogenated - Earth Balance shortening)
1/4 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread
2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted if clumpy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk

To start: Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a small bowl, beat the flax meal and water together with a fork or wire whisk until gelatinous and gooey, similar to egg whites; set aside.

Prepare the dough: In a large bowl, cream together the Earth Balance, brown sugar, flax/water mixture and vanilla with a wooden spoon until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together. Stir the dry mixture into the Earth Balance/sugar mixture. Fold in the oats and raisins.

Bake the cookies: Spoon out batter (about one large spoonful makes regular sized cookies and you should get roughly 2 dozen) and drop two inches apart on your parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes (your baking time will vary, depending on your oven), taking them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

In the meantime, make the frosting: Beat the shortening and Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread together with a handheld mixer until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes. Add the vanilla and almond milk, beat for another 5 to 7 minutes until fluffy.

Build the sandwich cookies: Once the cookies have cooled completely, pair them together. Flip one cookie in each pair so the bottom is facing up, and frost it generously with your frosting. Top with the other cookie. Do this for each pair of cookies. You should end up with about a dozen cookie sandwiches.