Green Falafel

Green-falafel

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!

Ingredients:
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:

  1. Drain chickpeas. Grind them in Vitamix or food processor until smooth. Remove it from the food processor and set it aside.
  2. Put torn collard green leaves in the food processor. Process until they became finely minced.
  3. Add chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, cumin, black pepper, cayenne, and GF flour. Process until everything is incorporated.
  4. Place the falafel mixture in a stainless steel bowl or pan, and put it in freezer for 30 minutes.
  5. By using a 2-tablespoon, measure the mixture and roll it into a ball. Repeat until the mixture is gone.
  6. Heat vegetable oil of your choice in a sauce pan about 1/2″ depth.
  7. 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.
  8. Line up a big plate with paper towels. Rest the puppies on them.

 

 

 

My First GF Chocolate Ganache Birthday Cake!

gf-chocolateb-cake

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)
Dry:
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

Wet:
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

  1. Blend silken tofu with water in a blender until it becomes smooth. Put it in a big bowl.
  2. Add the rest of wet ingredients to the bowl. Mix well with a whisk. Set it on a side.
  3. In another big bowl, measure all the dry ingredients in. Mix it well.
  4. Add wet in dry in a few batches. Mix well each time.
  5. Cut a parchment paper to fit the baking pan. Oil the 2 pans. Place the parchment paper in the bottom.
  6. Pour the half batter in the prepared baking pan. Pour the rest into the another pan.
  7. 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.
  8. 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

  1. Blend silken tofu in a blender until it becomes smooth. Add soy lectin. Let it run again.
  2. Melt dark chocolate chips in a double boiler or microwave. 2 minutes in microwave. Stir.
  3. Add melted chocolate in the tofu mixture and blend until it becomes uniformed in color as well as in texture.
  4. Keep it in a refrigerator until ready to use. I put it in a freezer for 30 minutes. I was in  hurry.
  5. Slice off a top of the cakes to flatten it, if they were not flat.
  6. Place one cake on a board or a flat plate cut side up. Put two big scoops of ganache cream on. Smooth it out.
  7. Place the other cake on top cut side down. Press it down with palm.
  8. Smother ganache cream on the side, filling the gap.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Tofu Dressing Salad

Tofu-shiraae

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.

Ingredients:
1 carrot
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)

Tofu Dressing:
1 cake tofu (300 g)
3 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp soy sauce or tamari

Cooking broth:
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp sake
1 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 1/2 cup mushroom soaking water

  1. Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in 1 1/2 cups warm water.
  2. Drain tofu by pressing it between palm of your hands.
  3. Boil konnyaku for 5 minutes.
  4. Pour hot water from tap over aburaage. Squeeze water out.
  5. Cut carrot, aburaage, and konnyaku in thin strips.
  6. 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.
  7. Boil snap peas for a minute until they become bright green. If you are using frozen edamame, thaw them and shell them.
  8. 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.
  9. Drain vegetables. Lightly mix them with tofu dressing.
  10. Chill.

 

Soshoku (simple diet? Lean diet?)

Soshoku

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.

Bean Salsa:

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.

Cauliflower:

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.

 

Vedge: the best vegan restaurant in Philly

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-appetisers

Our choice of appetizers at Vedge

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.

Eggplant Brociole: smoked eggplant, italian salsa verde, cured olive

Eggplant Braciole: smoked eggplant, italian salsa verde, cured olive

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.

Vedge-Miso Grilled Tofu

Miso Grilled Tofu: edamame puree, roasted miso, yuba crackling, sea bean

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.

Vedge-maitake

Sheared Maitake Mushroom: celery root fritter, smoked leek lemoulade

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.

Vedge-desserts

Dessert: Chocolate Bar and Sour Cherry Cheesecake

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.

 

GF Oatmeal Raisin Chocolatechip Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolatechip Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolatechip Cookies

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.

Ingredients:
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

  1. Soak ground flax seeds and chia seeds in nut milk. Set it on a side.
  2. Heat oven at 350 ºF.
  3. 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.
  4. Add flour or ground oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon. Mix well.
  5. Add raisin, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and chocolate chips.
  6. 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.
  7. Bake them at 350 ºF for 20 minutes until they become golden brown.
  8. Let them cool off for 10 minutes before remove from the baking sheet.

 

 

Carrot Soup & Avocado Toasts = A Perfect Light Lunch

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.

Carrot Soup

Carrot Soup

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

  1. Chop carrots, onion, and potato into big chunks.
  2. Put everything in a big enough pot. Bring it to boil.
  3. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes or until everything becomes soft.
  4. Take the bay leaf out. Let it cool little bit. Blend it until it becomes smooth.

 

Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast

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

  1. Mash avocado. Mix with all the spices and lemon juice.
  2. Halve grape tomatoes.
  3. Toast the bread.
  4. Spread avocado on the toasts. Sprinkle halved grape tomatoes on top.