Saturday, May 23, 2015

Vegan S'mores

Makes 10-12 large marshmallows
Time: 15 minutes for fluff, or up to 10 hours to dry in dehydrator

A few weeks ago, I started seeing lots of aquafaba-based marshmallow fluff and meringue recipes and photos pop up on some of the vegan blogs I follow. Although I'm definitely not a baker or dessert-maker, I was curious to try making aquafaba myself. ("aqua" is Latin for "water" and "faba" is Latin for "bean" hence the name.) I had a can of chickpeas, some sugar and a Kitchen Aid mixer, so I was all set.

To make aquafaba fluff, you put the excess liquid you usually strain and rinse off of canned chickpeas into a Kitchen Aid mixer, start on slow, then increase the speed to high and it magically whips up into a beautiful marshmallow fluff in about 7-10 minutes. See the video below, via VeganBreak:

Discovered by Goose Wohlt, this technique was inspired by Jöel Roessel's chickpea brine experiments and has extended into the vegan community and beyond

I first tried using the fluff in an angel food cake recipe, and it failed miserably. Then I tried to make another batch but ruined it by adding in ingredients before whipping the chickpea brine. By my fourth try, I had a beautiful fluff that I decided to add some xanthan gum and coconut cream to further thicken, and it worked beautifully! You can whip it up and serve as is, or throw some blobs into a dehydrator for a more sturdy texture. They refrigerate well and taste just like a gooey marshmallow with no beany taste at all.

For more aquafaba-based recipes, check out these blogs!

Seitan is My Motor | Homemade Vegan Marshmallows

Keepin' It Kind | Vegan S'mores Waffles

Glue and Glitter | Vegan Meringue Cookies

Vedged Out | The Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vegan Dad | Fluffy Tapioca Pudding

for the vegan marshmallows
about 1 cup brine from 1 can chickpeas
1/3 cup superfine sugar or process regular sugar in a blender until fine
2 tsp xanthan gum
1/3 cup coconut cream (place unopened can upright in freezer for an hour or in refrigerator overnight to allow the fat to properly rise to the top of the can)
pinch salt

for the rest
vegan graham crackers
dark chocolate, melted

Place the chickpea brine into a Kitchen Aid mixer. Using the whisk attachment, start on the low setting for a minute or two, then slowly increase to the highest setting for 7-10 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and frothy, and forms stiff peaks. 

Drizzle the sugar into the aquafaba. Wait one minute, then add in 1 tsp of the xanthan gum. Process one minute more, then add in another teaspoon of xanthan gum, whisking for 1-2 minutes more. Break up the coconut cream and drop into the aquafaba, then add the salt and process 1 minute more. The mixture should be airy and thick. Taste and add extra sugar or salt as needed. 

To create sturdier marshmallows, place 1 to 2 tablespoon-sized dollops onto a flexible, non-stick screen and place into a dehydrator. Dehydrate at 110 degrees for 8-10 hours, or until the outside has developed a texture firm enough to hold its shape. The inside should still be gooey and soft.

Serve with vegan graham crackers and melted chocolate. You can lightly toast the edges of the marshmallow with a butane torch or a lighter if you want.

TIP: To make the mixture thicker or thinner, use a little more or little less xanthan gum. You can use straight out of the mixer as a marshmallow fluff, dehydrate for longer or shorter to obtain the desired texture. The coconut cream is optional. 

Refrigerate if not using right away. It holds its shape and texture well after refrigeration.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Rouxbe Update: Task 271!

It's been about three months since I began Rouxbe's Plant-Based Professional Certification Course! Read my previous updates about Rouxbe here.
Before we moved from Boston to LA, I worked for several years in the downtown's financial district, which was right near the North End. There are literally more than 100 Italian restaurants and bakeries in this densely packed area. I have really happy memories of walking through that area while we lived there, and when I think of Boston, the feel of the North End is one of the things I miss the most. 

One year, the department of the law firm I worked at held a half-day retreat at one of the restaurants in the North End. The retreat included a scavenger hunt to buy ingredients at the various small markets dotted around the area for a cooking class we'd take later on in the day. It was fun to walk into each one and look at all of the new-to-me ingredients packed along the walls in the tiny shops, as well as interact with the shop keepers as we figured out what to buy on our list. 

The hands-on cooking class itself later on that day, of course, was centered around butter, cheese, meat and eggs, so I mostly just passively watched. However, seeing the restaurant's head pasta maker demonstrate how to roll out fresh pasta using a pasta machine to make cheese ravioli using a Norpro ravioli press inspired me to attempt to try to veganize the entire process myself at home

If it wasn't for that two-hour demonstration, I wouldn't have attempted to make pasta or ravioli on my own in the past couple of years. It just seemed way too advanced and overwhelming of a process. Except that it's not. I mean, it's a process, but it's a completely meditative and relaxing one. The end result is always worth the work, and the work is always just as satisfying as the end result.

Although the inspiration and enthusiasm was there, the intuitive know-how and complete understanding of the process was not. My results were always hit-or-miss because I was guessing on ratios and timing instead of approaching it with complete confidence about how all of the ingredients worked together. So now that I've entered the second half of Rouxbe, I was especially excited to see the pasta-making portion of the course pop up on my dashboard.

This time, instead of just watching some parts of pasta dough being made, I learned about the entire process of pasta making in Rouxbe's highly structured platform

By the time I set up my mise en place and rolled out my Rouxbe Eggless Pasta Dough, I already had a good understanding of the what and why behind each step of the process, as well as how everything worked together. From learning about how gluten behaves, what impact resting and kneading has on the dough and how to cut it, I didn't just blindly replicate the process—I understood it. The results? flawless. The taste and texture? perfect. Did I get it right the first time? yes!

This completely vegan homemade manicotti was absolutely amazing. Soft but sturdy, it encapsulated the rich and creamy tofu ricotta filling, and held up well under a slather of homemade tomato sauce and a drizzle of cashew béchamel. We loved every bite of this, and the work and effort required was part of what made everything about this task so perfect. 

My takeaway from this task? When armed with the right kind of expert guidance, I can do more than I think I can, and the end result offers much more than a fantastic dish: it creates a sense of satisfaction that feels just as good as the finished dish tastes. 

If you are interested in learning about plant-based cooking or taking your already fabulous plant-based cooking skills to the next level, Rouxbe's next seating is August 6. And now is the time to sign up! 

If you enroll in Rouxbe's Plant-Based Professional Certification Course between now and 11:59 p.m. PST on May 15, they are offering $400 off their standard seat price. You can also sign up for a free 7-day trial and check it out for yourself.

Stay tuned for another Rouxbe update next month!

Rouxbe generously waived my tuition in exchange for blogging about my experience and sharing my honest opinions about their Plant-Based Professional Certification Course.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen | Review + Giveaway! [closed]

Superstar vegan blogger Kathy Patalsky—founder of healthyhappylife.comauthor of 365 Vegan Smoothies and curator of—has just released her second cookbook, Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen

If you are already familiar with Kathy's work, you know that her food is bright and fresh, innovative yet approachable, and always served with a side of positive energy and glow. Kathy makes vegan food fun, colorful and an extension of her healthy-happy outlook on life.

Packed with more than 220 recipes, HHVK beautifully showcases Kathy's culinary point of view. Throughout the pages of her cookbook, she has breathed new life into vegan classics, like 15-Minute Marinara Sauce with Vegan Parmesan, Easy Sweet Potato Chili and Easy Creamy Ranch Dressing; created new twists of her own, like Avocado Caprese Sandwich, Turmeric Hemp White Bean Burger Patties and Blueberry Farro Spinach Salad; and invented dishes that are completely unique, like Pesto Chickpea Bowl, Cinna-Chili Coconut Oil Popcorn and Tofu Feta, Watermelon and Basil Salad.

HHVK is much more than just a pretty book in the fast-growing world of vegan cookbooks. It's the kind of cookbook that you are actually going to use again and again, because the recipes are not only simple and doable, but also filling, delicious and accessible.

I first tried Kathy's 5-Step Raw Kale Salad because it looked so colorful and bright, and I had almost all of the ingredients on hand already. You can never go wrong with tahini and kale, and Kathy kicks it up a notch by adding a touch of maple syrup and cayenne that brings everything together and keeps you going back for another bite. I'm super excited that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has not only allowed me to share the recipe here, but is also offering a free copy of Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen to one lucky reader through this post!

To enter, just leave a comment below that describes why eating vegan food makes you feel happy and healthy. I'll randomly choose and announce a winner on Friday, May 8. Shipping is limited to the US. Good luck!

The winner of this giveaway is Amelia, congrats! Thanks to everyone who entered.

For more chances to win, plus five more amazing giveaway items, see Kathy's Healthy Happy Vegan Blogger Cookbook Tour post!

5-Step Raw Kale salad
serves 3
Text excerpted from Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen, © 2015 by Kathy Patalsky.

This salad was a big winner on my blog. Everyone fell in love with the ease of the recipe and the deliciousness of the flavors. When you hear about kale salads being trendy and craveable, this is the type of salad that everyone is referring to! Raw kale marinated or massaged with flavors, tahini or nut butter, avocado, veggies, a sweet accent, and something sassy like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Make this your go-to raw kale recipe—it only takes five steps!

1 bunch kale
¾ cups shredded carrots
1 small avocado, diced
½ cup diced sweet onion

Simple Sweet Tahini Dressing (see note)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar or fresh lime juice)
2 tablespoons tahini (or substitute with nut or seed butter)
2 tablespoons grade B maple syrup
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil (optional, adds richness)
Pinch of freshly grated zest
2 pinches cayenne
Pinch of sea salt and a few pinches freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons seeds or nuts (optional)

Wash the kale. Run each thick leaf under warm water and massage any grit away. Tear the leaves away from the thick stalks and place them in a large bowl. Rinse and drain the leaves several times until the kale is adequately clean.

Drain the water from the bowl for a final time and squeeze the kale dry with a few paper towels. Remove any large pieces of kale from the bowl and finely chop them into long strips. (If you like large pieces of kale you can skip this last chopping step.) You should have 4 to 6 cups of kale.

Place the kale, carrots, avocado, and onion in a large bowl.

For the Simple Sweet Tahini Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together.

Add the dressing to the bowl of veggies and kale and start tossing. Massage the dressing into the kale with your hands, if you’d like, for more infused flavor. Fluff and toss until the dressing is well absorbed into the greens and veggies. Fold in the seeds, if desired.

Cover and refrigerate the salad. Allow at least 1 hour for the dressing to really sink into the ingredients. Plus, chilling everything makes it refreshing and tasty as a cold salad side. You can even make this salad the night before you serve it. Overnight chilling works! The greens should be eaten within a day for the best taste and texture.

Note: Make a double batch of dressing if you like your greens more heavily dressed.

Tip: You can easily change up the veggies and other addins as desired!

(per serving–235g)
Calories: 259
Fat: 17g
Carbs: 23g
Protein: 5g
Fiber: 8g
Vitamin C: 207%
Iron: 12%
Calcium: 15%
Vitamin A: 369%

Kathy Patalsky is the creator of the vegan food blog Healthy. Happy. Life. and is the author of the cookbooks 365 Vegan Smoothies and Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen

Kathy is also the founder of the popular website which launched the Finding Vegan App in 2015. Kathy's recipes and photography work have been featured in Saveur, BuzzFeed, LATimes, Fox, CNN, on the cover of VegNews, Channel 8's Connecticut Style and more. Kathy grew up a block from the beach in the farmer's market savvy, laidback, surfer's paradise town of Santa Cruz California. She graduated with a degree in Health Promotion from American University in Washington DC. Kathy also spent a year studying art at Otis School of Art and Design. 

Her blog is a merging of her favorite things: art, food, wellness, a love of animals and the environment and people.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Great Vegan Protein Book | Review + Giveaway! [closed]

Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes did it first with Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day!, followed by Whole Grain Vegan Baking and Vegan Finger Foods and have done it again with their newly released The Great Vegan Protein BookBut what do I mean by it, anyway

When Tami and Celine get together and write a cookbook, something magical happens. Beautiful, balanced and creative recipes emerge. Gorgeous photos are styled and shot and welcoming headnotes are thoughtfully written. They've created a trademark look and feel in all of their cookbooks that is unique, welcoming, warm and approachable. 

For their newest title, Celine and Tami have crafted a cookbook that serves as an answer to the looming question vegans have been asked once or a hundred times since going vegan: how do you get your protein? Packed with more than 100 recipes, TGVPB not only gives tons of protein-powered ideas, but also makes creating them fun, easy-to-make and varied.

Want a sandwich? Try the Tempeh Banh Mi, Barbecued Seitan or Provençale Tofu Salad Sandwiches

Want to use up those lentils? Try their Split Pea Patties, Savory Edamame Mini Cakes or Baked Falafel

Want something different for dinner? Try their Well-Dressed Tofu Bowls, White Chili, Cacciatore Chickpea-Smothered Cauliflower Steaks or Home-style Pot Pie

And for dessert, Tami and Celine have Sesame Berry Squares, No-Bake Choco Cashew Cheesecake and Cacao-Coated Almonds

And there's breakfast too! Gingerbread Quinoa Granola, Pudla ... and Apple Pie Breakfast Farro, that I'm excited to share with you here! This breakfast farro is a great way to get protein at the start of your day, and is packed with texture and flavor. The kind folks over at Fair Winds Press have not only allowed me to share this awesome recipe here, but also are offering a copy of The Great Vegan Protein Book to one reader through this post!

To enter, just leave a comment below that includes your favorite source of plant-based protein. I'll randomly pick and announce a winner on April 28. Shipping is restricted to the US/Canada and the UK only ... good luck!

The winner of this giveaway is Christine, congrats! Thanks to everyone who entered.

Apple Pie Breakfast Farro

There’s no shame in admitting that hot cereal usually isn't your cup of tea for breakfast. We’re in the same boat actually, but we happen to be smitten with this cinnamon-flavored bowl. Let the apples retain some texture for the tastiest results. 

8.8 ounces (249 g) quick-cooking dry farro
3 McIntosh apples, or any favorite apple, cored and chopped (about 18 ounces, or 510 g)
¼ cup (48 g) Sucanat or (38 g) light brown sugar (not packed)
1⅛ teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus optional extra for garnish
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (235 ml) plain or vanilla vegan milk, warmed, as needed
1 or 2 recipes of nuts from Seed and Nut Ice Cream (page 93), or toasted nuts of choice
Pure maple syrup, optional

Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Protein content per serving: 19 g

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Add the farro and bring back to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-high and leave uncovered. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes until al dente or the desired consistency is reached. Drain and set aside. 

Place the chopped apples, Sucanat or brown sugar, and cinnamon in the same large pot you used to cook the farro. Heat to medium-high, stirring to combine the ingredients. Once the apples start to release moisture, lower the heat to medium and cook until the apples are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Note that the cooking time will vary depending on the size of the apple bits and what kind of apple you use. You’re looking for tender bits, but not applesauce.

Remove the pot from the stove and stir the vanilla into the apples. Add the cooked grain into the apples and serve immediately, topping each serving with as much of the warm milk as desired. Top each serving with a handful of nuts, extra cinnamon, and maple syrup if desired.

Recipe Notes

• While quick-cooking grains usually retain less nutrition than their less processed counterparts, the total amount of uncooked farro used in this recipe still contains 30 g of protein. That’s a pretty impressive amount for something prepared in a flash, and convenience is frequently key when whipping up a breakfast meal.

• You will need 3 generous cups (weight will vary for other grains) of cooked grain to prepare this dish: We prefer using grain that is al dente to get a nice texture and a nutty flavor. If you prefer a more tender grain, cook it to your own personal taste.