I haven’t posted for a long time because I’ve been busy cooking, baking, and creating vegan cheese for the last few months. I took a few food-worthy photos, but I have not been posting them, thinking I would do it later when I had a moment. Then I kept going missing the moments. Here it is my new science (Not!) project. I’ve been making rejuvelac to use as a fermentation starter to make vegan cheeses. Rejuvelac is soaking water of sprouted grains. I tried sweet brown rice (because that is my favorite kind of grain), brown rice, raw buckwheat groats, millet, oat groats, white quinoa, red quinoa so far. I like the sweet smell of oat groats and sweet brown rice. But they take for ever to sprout. Millet is cheap and fairly quick one to sprout, but it’s very difficult for me to see the tails coming out or not. Buckwheat is easy one to see the tails because their tails are fat. Quinoa sprout fastest. They sprout within 1 day, but white quinoa’s tails are also difficult to see. Tails of red quinoa are easy to spot against the red grains. These have a burnt smell and rejuvelac from red quinoa doesn’t taste as sour as other rejuvelac, but it works fine as a vegan cheese culture. Thus I’ve settled to use buckwheat and red quinoa to make rejuvelac.
Ahhh, green falafel. These puppies are a bit more healthier than usual falafel, and pretty tasty. I couldn’t find a healthier (=less oily) way to fry them up yet, but I cooked them in a pan with oil half way up to the puppies and turned them around until they became golden. For now, this is the best way to cook falafel. I tried spraying oil onto them and baked in the oven, just baked in the oven without any oil, and they came out tasty alright, but not crispy outside texture that I wanted. They are green because collard greens were added. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!
1 cup dry chickpeas or 2.5 cups soaked (soaked in plenty of water over night)
4-5 collard green leaves (stems removed, torn into bite size)
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
3 Table spoons tahini
3 Table spoons lemon juice
1 tea spoon salt
1 tea spoon grind cumin
1/2 tea spoon grind black pepper
dash of cayenne
3-4 Table spoons GF flour (oat flour or rice flour will do)
Servings: 18 golf ball size falafel
To make falafel:
- Drain chickpeas. Grind them in Vitamix or food processor until smooth. Remove it from the food processor and set it aside.
- Put torn collard green leaves in the food processor. Process until they became finely minced.
- Add chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, cumin, black pepper, cayenne, and GF flour. Process until everything is incorporated.
- Place the falafel mixture in a stainless steel bowl or pan, and put it in freezer for 30 minutes.
- By using a 2-tablespoon, measure the mixture and roll it into a ball. Repeat until the mixture is gone.
- Heat vegetable oil of your choice in a sauce pan about 1/2″ depth.
- Fry up the puppies until they become golden all around. You have to turn them a few times since they are not entirely submerged in oil.
- Line up a big plate with paper towels. Rest the puppies on them.
Alright. The decoration is not up to per. But this was my first gluten free chocolate ganache cake and was made on and for my combined birthday party. I run out of space for “y” and had to squeeze that in. My name? Other birthday girls’ names? You are asking for too much. I had a lot of fun making this, but it took a couple of hours to decorate since the chocolate frosting was just made and had to be cooled before use it. Otherwise, it would not work. I baked the cake the day before and let it cool in a refrigerator over night which helps frosting to stick to the cake better. Thank you so much, my colleague for teaching me how to decorate this cake, although it was kinda her job. All the guests who ate this cake didn’t taste anything but a moist tasty chocolate cake. Another birthday girl ate the last piece for breakfast next morning.
Ingredients for 2 x 10″ round pan chocolate cakes (I used both to create layering)
1 cup quinoa flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup oat flour
1/2 cup arrowroot flour (or tapioca flour)
1 cup cocoa powder
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 Tbsp baking soda
1 Tbsp Xanthan Gum
1/2 Tbsp salt
1 box silken tofu
3/4 cup water
2 1/2 cups soy milk
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 3/4 cup oil (canola or sunflower)
1 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups maple syrup
- Blend silken tofu with water in a blender until it becomes smooth. Put it in a big bowl.
- Add the rest of wet ingredients to the bowl. Mix well with a whisk. Set it on a side.
- In another big bowl, measure all the dry ingredients in. Mix it well.
- Add wet in dry in a few batches. Mix well each time.
- Cut a parchment paper to fit the baking pan. Oil the 2 pans. Place the parchment paper in the bottom.
- Pour the half batter in the prepared baking pan. Pour the rest into the another pan.
- Bake at 350 ºF for 35 minutes or until done. Do a bamboo stick test. Stick a bamboo stick in the middle of the cake and if it comes out clean, it’s done.
- Cool it over night before frosting.
Ingredients for chocolate ganache:
2 1/2 boxes silken tofu
1 1/2 Tbsp soy liquid lectin
2 cups dark chocolate chips
- Blend silken tofu in a blender until it becomes smooth. Add soy lectin. Let it run again.
- Melt dark chocolate chips in a double boiler or microwave. 2 minutes in microwave. Stir.
- Add melted chocolate in the tofu mixture and blend until it becomes uniformed in color as well as in texture.
- Keep it in a refrigerator until ready to use. I put it in a freezer for 30 minutes. I was in hurry.
- Slice off a top of the cakes to flatten it, if they were not flat.
- Place one cake on a board or a flat plate cut side up. Put two big scoops of ganache cream on. Smooth it out.
- Place the other cake on top cut side down. Press it down with palm.
- Smother ganache cream on the side, filling the gap.
- Make a thin coat of cream on the top. Let the cake rest in a freezer or a refrigerator for a bit until it sets. Keep the rest of the cream cool, too.
- Pile up the rest of the cream on top.
Hey, what do I know about decorating a cake? This was absolutely my first trial. Next one will be better looking.
Sweet and cold. A nice summer side dish. A cake of tofu is in the salad dressing. I haven’t made this dish for such a long time. I was flipping my old scrap cooking recipe book and I saw something like this in it. I reduced amount of sugar. I love sweets, but too sweet is too sweet. You can make this ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for a few days.
1/2 cake konnyaku
2 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 slice aburaage (fried tofu pounch)
1 cup snap peas, green beans, or shelled edamame (or steamed and roughly cut spinach)
1 cake tofu (300 g)
3 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp soy sauce or tamari
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp sake
1 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 1/2 cup mushroom soaking water
- Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in 1 1/2 cups warm water.
- Drain tofu by pressing it between palm of your hands.
- Boil konnyaku for 5 minutes.
- Pour hot water from tap over aburaage. Squeeze water out.
- Cut carrot, aburaage, and konnyaku in thin strips.
- Cook carrot, aburaage, konnyaku and dried shiitake mushrooms in mushroom soaking water + other seasonings for 5 minutes until carrot becomes soft. When it is cool to touch, cut stems out of shiitake mushrooms and cut the caps in thin strips.
- Boil snap peas for a minute until they become bright green. If you are using frozen edamame, thaw them and shell them.
- Make tofu dressing. Pulse sesame seeds in a coffee grinder for a few seconds. Mix all other tofu dressing ingredients well with a hand blender.
- Drain vegetables. Lightly mix them with tofu dressing.
Bean Salsa, Yuzu Sesame Tempeh, Hijiki (seaweed) Salad, Steamed Cauliflower with yuzu dressing, Brown Rice
This is my version of Shojin Ryori (simple vegan meal for monks). I was inspired by bean salsa that I had over the weekend. His version had a lot more ingredients than what I did here and more soupy. Mine became more like salad than salsa. Hijiki salad is not vegan because I used fish-kombu broth to cook with. I could have used shiitake mushroom-kombu broth to be true vegan. The Japanese broth is pretty much the only cheating that I do. Shiitake mushroom-kombu broth is good, but not the same. If you can’t find yuzu juice, substitute with lime juice or lemon juice. But use less if you are using lemon juice, because yuzu is more subtle than lemon.
1 ear of fresh sweet corn (scrape kernels off with a knife)
1 cup cooked beans (azuki beans and pinto beans used here)
3 scallion stalks (chop small)
1/4 red onion (small dice)
One or All of followings:
1 avocado (1/2″ cubes)
2″ cucumber (1/2″ cubes)
1 tomato (1/2″ cubes)
1/2 bell pepper (1/2″ cubes)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Lime juice
1 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
Cut up vegetables all about 1/2″ cubes. Mix them with beans, corn, and spices. Let it sit at least for 10 minutes.
Yuzu Sesame Tempeh:
1 block tempeh (1/2″ thick slice)
2 Tbsp yuzu juice
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp hot sesame oil
2 tsp maple syrup
Soak temper slices in the marinade for at least 1 hour. You can leave them over night.
Bake, panfry, or broil them for 10 minutes or so until they become golden brown.
1 head cauliflower
2 Tbsp yuzu juice
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbs maple syrup
Break cauliflower into florets. Steam them just enough about 1 minute.
Mix the yuzu dressing. Drizzle over the steamed cauliflower.
I went to visit my childhood friend in Philadelphia. She was dying to take me to Vedge, the best vegan restaurant in Philly. Since none of her family members were vegan or vegetarian including herself, she didn’t have much chance to go there. Another friend of mine who lives in New York City cherished Vedge. She is not vegan, either. My verdict? Yes, I agree with them absolutely. I didn’t even have to visit other so called vegan restaurants in Philly. Another one, V Street, is created by the same chefs from Vedge any way. However since V Street has more ethnic influenced menus, I’m going to visit them next time when I’m in Philadelphia.
Everything I ate at Vedge was absolutely delicious. Their dishes are very creative and labor of love. You don’t want to cook them at home. Too much effort. Each dish requires multiple steps if they were not complicated. Vedge is a fancy tapas bar/restaurant. Each dish is small and bit too salty to eat by itself. But if you pair them up with a drink, it is fabulous. I can not drink! Too bad. I had to drink 3 glasses of water with this meal.
Vedge appetizers: Salt Roasted Gold Beets with smoked tofu, capers, dill, avocado,”pastrami”; Asparagus in peapod dashi with yukon gold noodles; Nebrodini Mushrooms as “fazzoletti” basil, roasted tomato.
Dished we ordered were all delicious and quite creative. Asparagus was not what I expected though. I’m trying to pick one favorite among these, but I can’t. Mushroom noodles with grape roasted tomatoes was one of the best Italian appetizers that I ever tasted. But the best creativity reward goes to the Salt Roasted Gold Beets. The naming is not quite right, because beet is not the main in this dish. Smoked tofu and avocado had the equal impact.
This one was a home-run. It looks like a sausage, but it melts in your mouth! I was curious what else was in it because the description on the menu was not everything that I as tasting. It turned out that roasted cauliflower and tons of awesome olive oil were mixed in it. Over all, Vedge uses a lot of high quality olive oil. I mean a lot. My stomach had a slight bloating 10 minutes after I ate. My friend suggested that it was because we ate late. She could get us only a 9:30 p.m. reservation. The reservation on a Friday night was tough. At the last minute, they awarded us 9 o’clock reservation, but by the time our order was in, it was 9:30 p.m. any way. And I don’t remember how long it took for the first course to arrive. I ate after 9 p.m. for 2 weeks while I was in Spain and I was fine with it, so I doubt it was because of the lateness made my stomach bloat. I can not eat that much of oil at once, even if it’s a high quality olive oil.
Very good, but compared to the eggplant, this was ordinary goodness. The miso dressing was special. We were all puzzled by sea beans. We asked about them. We googled them. We were still mystified by them.
Maitake mushrooms are yummy just by quickly cooked with olive oil any way. So yes, once again, this was very good dish, but not in comparison to the eggplant dish.
Chocolate Bar: elderflower caramel pecans, blackberry jam, lavender ice cream
Sour Cherry Cheesecake: moroccan mint pesto, halva ice cream, za’atar candied pistachios
Chocolate Bar is not gluten free, so that I could not taste it. I tasted the sour cherry cheesecake (minus crust) and the nut icecream. Creamy, sweet and tart, cold, lovely.
My boyfriend said that if they could do vegan desserts well, they are the top notch vegan restaurant. For me, I don’t expect them to do desserts well, but definitely if they can do a gluten free vegan dessert well, I will give them another star. Vedge has one gluten free dessert, but we opted out because when we saw sour cherry on the dessert menu, we had to have it.
I’m posting this recipe before I forget. I thought this recipe was already on my blog long time ago, but it was not. These oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies can be hearty snack or desert. Or a on-the-go breakfast. Enjoy.
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup gluten free flour mix or ground oats
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
1/4 cup earth balance or nut butter
1 cup vegan milk
3 Tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 small banana
1/2 cup raisin
1 oz dark chocolate chip (or chop dark chocolate bar, about 1/4 cup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
- Soak ground flax seeds and chia seeds in nut milk. Set it on a side.
- Heat oven at 350 ºF.
- In a big bowl, cream earth balance with a spatula. Mash a banana. Add mashed banana, maple syrup, vanilla, and soaked flax seeds + chia seeds. Mix well.
- Add flour or ground oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon. Mix well.
- Add raisin, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and chocolate chips.
- With a big spoon, scoop up dough and roll it into a golf ball size. Place the ball on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Flatten it with a palm of your hand. Repeat until all the dough is gone.
- Bake them at 350 ºF for 20 minutes until they become golden brown.
- Let them cool off for 10 minutes before remove from the baking sheet.
This carrot soup is quick to make if you have vegetable broth already made. I used a vegetable broth in a bag this time to make this soup. The result was delicious. Sometimes you need to take a short cut.
Ingredients (makes 4 cups):
3/4 lb carrots
1 small potato
1 small yellow onion
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp sea salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper to taste
- Chop carrots, onion, and potato into big chunks.
- Put everything in a big enough pot. Bring it to boil.
- Let it simmer for about 15 minutes or until everything becomes soft.
- Take the bay leaf out. Let it cool little bit. Blend it until it becomes smooth.
These lovely green toasts will make up the other half of your lunch.
Ingredients (makes 2 toasts):
1/2 ripe avocado
2 slices of your choice of bread
10 grape tomatoes
2-3 tsp lemon juice or lime juice
1 tsp cumin
sea salt and black pepper to taste
a dash of cayenne
- Mash avocado. Mix with all the spices and lemon juice.
- Halve grape tomatoes.
- Toast the bread.
- Spread avocado on the toasts. Sprinkle halved grape tomatoes on top.
Alright. I knew it would be tough to be a vegan and gluten free in Spain. But Boy, YES, it was really really tough. There are plentiful beautiful vegetables and fruits at local vegetable stands, and they are not expensive. 2 big bundles of baby green asparagus was 3 euros. I walked onto an organic farmer’s market by Ave. del Paral-lel on the last day there. It was Saturday. There were a few green produce vendors and their produce was flying. There was a preserve shop where I really wanted to buy a jar of preserves, but couldn’t find the one I liked.
Yet, to find a pure vegetable dish in a restaurant was a mission impossible. The common vegetable dishes you can find in a restaurant there were potatoes and pimientos. Once at a tapas bar in a mercat, I saw green asparagus and I had them. They were fine, but 12.60 euros for 6 green asparaguses was ummm, a bit too much. Especially when you can have a complete meal with vine and dessert costs the same or less.
There are a handful of vegetarian restaurants in Barcelona, and most of their dishes are pretty good, but if you can’t eat gluten/eggs/cheese, well, then your choices would become half. Here are my favorite dishes that I had at Sésamo, one of the top 10 vegetarian restaurants in Barcelona.
Cauliflower Bomb at Sésamo
This was totally a cauliflower bomb. I forgot its real name. Roasted whole head of cauliflower with tahini sauce and pesto sauce drizzled over it. I didn’t think I could finish this only with another person, but of course I did.
Killer Desserts at Sésamo
Dark Chocolate Fondue with fresh fruits, Mango/avocado/chia seeds pudding, and chocolate caramel truffles. I know caramel is not vegan, but when I saw them, I had to try one. The pudding was good and interesting, but the dark chocolate fondue was absolutely my fave. I licked the glass.