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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

LOW-FAT AQUAFABA MANDARIN ORANGE-PECAN-CRANBERRY MUFFINS (AND MINI TEA BREAD)

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About 10 years ago, I developed the original of this recipe for my now-defunct cooking newsletter The Vegan Feast Kitchen.  I was going for a partially whole-grain, low-fat, moist muffin with good structure.  (I don't like dry muffins.) In those days, I often used medium-firm or silken (extra-firm) tofu as an egg replacer in this type of baking, and it worked well. The other day I came across the recipe and I had all the makings. They sounded perfect for a cold winter day, along with a hot cup of tea. 

As I was assembling the ingredients, I wondered if I could use aquafaba instead of the tofu (my freezer is full of aquafaba ice cubes!). I had my doubts, because tofu is solid and aquafaba is liquid.  But, you never know til you try, so I took the plunge and substituted aquafaba for the tofu, measure for measure, but cut the non-dairy milk down by 1/4 cup. I also decided to cut the sugar down by a third, which turned out to be a good decision. The batter was very moist, even by my standards (my muffin and cake batters tend to be more moist than traditional ones) and I was a bit worried, but there was not much I could do about it at that point, so into the oven they went.

I also opted for using the two-thirds of the batter for muffins and one third for mini tea breads in little fruitcake pans, just for the heck of it.

It worked! The muffins and the tea breads came out beautifully.  (Note: I don't know if the batter would turn out so well in a large loaf pan.) The crumb was moist but the muffins and bread were easy to slice, and the flavor and aroma were balanced and delicious. This recipe is definitely a keeper and I'm happy to be able to use up some of my aquafaba stash in all of my old muffin recipes.



  
Printable Copy


BRYANNA'S LOW-FAT AQUAFABA MANDARIN ORANGE-PECAN-CRANBERRY MUFFINS (OR MINI TEA BREAD)  
Makes 18 muffins OR 12 muffins plus 2 mini tea breads

DRY MIX:
2 cups whole wheat PASTRY flour (do not substitute regular whole wheat flour or the muffins will be tough)
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
WET MIX:
1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk (I use soy milk)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup aquafaba (liquid from cooking chickpeas, or from canned chickpeas)
1 cups light unbleached granulated sugar
6 tablespoons smooth unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup oil
1 tablespoon oat bran
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
grated zest of 2 of the mandarin oranges/tangerines from "Additional" below
ADDITIONAL:
3 large mandarin oranges/tangerines (or 6 small ones)
1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup lightly-toasted chopped pecans (or other nuts, if you prefer)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare 18 muffin cups. (OR 12 muffin cups and two mini loaf pans [5.75 x 3 x 2 inches). You can use silicone cupcake liners, if you wish. I use my Homemade Cake Release to grease the muffin pans (and mini loaf pans) and don't use liners, because I like a bit of a crust on my muffins.

Use a citrus zester to zest two of the mandarin oranges. Set the zest side. Peel all three of the mandarin oranges and section them. Remove any pits that might be present. Carefully cut the sections into small pieces with a sharp knife. Set aside.

Whisk together the Dry Mix ingredients in a large bowl. Add the mandarin orange
pieces, pecans, and cranberries and toss briefly to coat.

In a blender, combine the Wet Mix ingredients until smooth, including the mandarin orange zest.

Pour the Wet Mix into the Dry Mix and stir briefly-- it will still be lumpy. Don't over-stir. Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin cups (and mini loaf pans, if using). Bake for about 20 minutes for muffins and 25 minutes for mini loaf-- test for doneness with a cake tester or toothpick. Cool the pans on racks for 10-15 minutes before removing the muffins.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per 1 muffin or 1/6th tea bread):  249 calories, 52 calories from fat, 6g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 150.8mg sodium, 253.7mg potassium, 46.9g carbohydrates, 3.8g fiber, 13.5g sugar, 3.8g protein


Enjoy!


Sunday, January 1, 2017

SMOKY VEGAN SAUSAGE AND POTATO CHOWDER

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I don't know about you, but, after all the feasting and festivities, we feel like eating pretty simple food.  But, given the cold Northern wind blowing here today over the water, it's got to be solid winter food-- solid, but not stodgy.  Tonight, of course, we're having my vegan version of Hoppin' John, a New Year's tradition with Southern roots (I do have ancestors who hailed from Virginia).  The beans (or black-eyed peas, in this case) are for luck, along with some cooked greens for money, and some corn bread or brown rice (I haven't decided yet).

But, after that, we often have winter soup meals. (I love making soups, in case you hadn't noticed!)  So here is a soup that I developed some years ago, but have not ever posted on this blog. It's a creamy chowder-- so warming and satisfing-- but with a few twists.  I hope you enjoy it!


BRYANNA'S SMOKY VEGAN SAUSAGE AND POTATO CHOWDER
Serves 6 
Can you ever have enough good soup recipes? Not in my book! This recipe uses a bit of smoked salt for extra flavor.

4 cups vegetarian bouillon (I prefer Better-Than-Bouillon No-Chicken Vegetarian OR  Better-Than-Bouillon Vegetable broth pastes-- use a little more salt with the vegetable base)
1/2 lb sweet potato, peeled and diced
1/2 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced celery
1 bay leaf
1 tsp smoked salt (or sea salt with a few shakes of liquid smoke)
2 cups frozen corn kernels
2 vegan "Smoked Apple Sausages", sliced (Field Roast or Tofurky brands)
1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk of choice
1/2 cup medium-firm tofu OR firm to extra-firm SILKEN tofu
2 Tbs potato starch
freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Optional:
smoked paprika (pimenton) for garnish

Mix together the broth, sweet potatoes, potatoes, green onions, red pepper, celery, bay leaf, and smoked salt in a medium soup pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, until the potatoes are just tender. Add the corn kernels and the sliced sausage and heat through.

In a blender, combine the milk and tofu with the potato starch until smooth. Pour, stirring, into the hot soup. Stir until it thickens (potato starch thickens when mixed with hot liquid-- it doesn't actually have to cook). Add pepper to taste and taste for salt.

Serve hot, sprinkled with the optional smoked pimenton, if you like.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 248.2 calories; 20% calories from fat; 5.8g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 586.5mg sodium; 558.1mg potassium; 36.2g carbohydrates; 6.9g fiber; 8.2g sugar; 15.8g protein; 4.6 points.

I wish you all a Happy New Year!




Sunday, December 11, 2016

GINGERBREAD SPICE MUFFINS WITH CRYSTALLIZED GINGER

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I devised this recipe for moist and delicious whole wheat muffins for my second cookbook, "The (Almost) No Fat Holiday Cookbook", but it didn't make the cut. It is, however, well worth making and is one of my husband's favorite treats. We like them simply served warm with a little vegan butter, but they can also be served as small individual "puddings"-- a quick and easy dessert topped with a sweet lemon sauce (see recipe below).


Printable Recipe

BRYANNA'S GINGERBREAD SPICE MUFFINS WITH CRYSTALLIZED GINGER (WITH AN EASY DESSERT OPTION)
Makes 10-12 (Depending on how large you like them)

For a fat-free recipe, omit the oil and use 8 oz. of tofu. They will still be nice and moist, but may dry out more quickly.

Liquid Ingredients:
6 oz. medium-firm tofu OR firm to extra-firm silken tofu, drained well
1/2 cup molasses (I use "fancy molasses", but you can use a dark type, if you prefer.)
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup oil
6 T. water
Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
6 T. oat flour (you can grind oatmeal in a DRY blender until fine)
1 T. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
Addition:
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, chopped small

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine the liquid ingredients together in a blender or with an immersion/stick blender until smooth.

Whisk the dry ingredients together well in a medium bowl. Pour in the liquid ingredients and mix briefly. Add the crystallized ginger and mix briefly just to distribute evenly. Spoon the batter into muffin cups that have been greased with cake release (see my homemade version) or lined with muffin cup liners. Bake for 20-25 minutes (check the center of one with a toothpick after 20 minutes). Cool the pan on a rack for 5 minutes before loosening the edges of the muffins carefully with a thin knife and turning them on their sides in the muffin cups to cool.

Bryanna's Lemon Pudding Sauce-- to serve on the warm muffins as a dessert option
1 cup water
1/2 cup light unbleached organic sugar
1 T. cornstarch
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp. grated lemon zest

Heat the water, sugar, cornstarch and salt in a small saucepan and stir over high heat until it thickens. Boil for 1 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest.

Enjoy!


Sunday, November 27, 2016

VEGAN BROWN RICE & WINTER SQUASH TIAN (GRATIN) WITH BEAN FLOUR-BASED BÉCHAMEL

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I'm trying to use up all the great vegetables I have around-- especially the lovely local winter squash.  I love winter squash.  I actually eat it for breakfast sometimes (very satisfying!).  Last night I had a chunk of Hubbard squash and some cooked brown basmati rice in the refrigerator that I wanted to use, so I decided to make a tian, which is a type of vegetable gratin, sometimes made with the addition of rice.  It makes a great side dish or a main dish, if you like.

To add nutrition, I used my creamy, fat-free white bean flour based Béchamel sauce (see this blog post for more info), with a small amount of vegan cheese, to hold it together, instead of the more common and sometimes copious amounts, of dairy cheese and cream-based sauce.  


The ingredients for this recipe are few and simple, but, together, made a delicious and nutritious dish.


Printable Copy

BRYANNA'S VEGAN BROWN RICE & WINTER SQUASH TIAN (GRATIN) WITH BEAN FLOUR-BASED BÉCHAMEL
4-6 servings

1 Tbsp vegan butter or olive oil
2 tsp dried, crumbled sage (not powdered)
3 cups grated peeled winter squash (such as Butternut, Hubbard, etc.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley (this can be omitted, if you don't have any)
3 cups cooked long grain brown rice, such as brown basmati
1/2 cup grated melt-able vegan cheese, such as Daiya Mozza or "Smoked Gouda", or your favorite kind
Fat-Free, Creamy Vegan White Bean Flour-Based Béchamel (Make ahead):
2 cups non-dairy milk of choice (use Original type-- I use soy milk)
1 tsp vegan chicken-style broth powder or paste (I like Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken Vegan Broth Base)
1/4 cup white bean flour (or white urad dal flour)-- see below
1/4 tsp salt
1 pinch grated nutmeg
freshly-ground pepper to taste

Freshly-milled white bean flour-- you can use navy beans, Great Northern, cannellini or white kidney beans.  This batch was made with navy beans. If you can't find white bean flour to purchase look for white Urad Dal flour where ingredients for Indian cooking are sold (which includes some large supermarkets).
To make the Béchamel Sauce:

Place all of the Béchamel ingredients in a blender and blend until very smooth. I cook the sauce in the microwave, in a large Pyrex batter bowl. I cook it on 100% power for three minutes, then whisk it then repeat for 3 minutes more. Microwave a bit more if necessary. If you prefer, you can cook it in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce boils and thickens.


To make the casserole:
Set oven to 400 degrees F. Oil an 8-cup shallow gratin or casserole dish.

In a wide heavy skillet, stir-fry pan or sauté pan, heat the vegan butter or olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the sage and grated squash.  Sauté until the squash has just softened.  I only sautéed it for 3 minutes, but it may take longer if you grate it more coarsely.  You don't want it mushy. Immediately stir in the chopped garlic and parsley (if using).


Combine the sautéed squash in a large bowl with the cooked brown rice, the pre-made Béchamel Sauce.


Scoop the mixture into the prepared pan and place in the oven.


Bake for 25 to 25 minutes, or until a bit of a crust forms on top.  Serve immediately.


Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per 1/4 of recipe): 365 calories, 80 calories from fat, 8.9g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 488.3mg sodium, 712mg potassium, 63.2g carbohydrates, 8.5g fiber, 7.4g sugar, 10.8g protein, 10.4 points.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per 1/6 of recipe): 243 calories, 53 calories from fat, 5.9g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 325.5mg sodium, 474.7mg potassium, 42.1g carbohydrates, 5.7g fiber, 4.9g sugar, 7.2g protein, 6.9 points.

Enjoy!


Monday, November 21, 2016

MOIST & DELICIOUS AQUAFABA PINEAPPLE-CARROT MUFFINS (vegan, low-fat)

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I'm so sorry for not blogging for so long!  I have not been terribly inspired in the last few months, so have been taking a bit of a blogging vacation. On top of that, I have had the worst cold of my life for the last three weeks-- very tired from waking up coughing at night. But, I'm on the mend, finally.

One wonderful addition to our life-- I have a great-grandson!  Here he is with me just after he turned 4 months old:


I have been working on a few things and hope to post them soon.  In the meantime, I made some muffins yesterday.  I used to make muffins quite often, but I don't do much baking these days.  We have to watch our calories and fat. But Brian expressed an interest in carrot cake all of sudden, so I suggested carrot muffins instead of cake. (I happen to have a huge bag of carrots in the house and have been trying to use them up, so it sounded like a good idea.)

I like muffins that are low in fat, but moist. The crushed pineapple helps with that and I think using the aquafaba as an egg substitute also helps. We loved them, and I hope you do, too.





















Printable Recipe

BRYANNA'S AQUAFABA PINEAPPLE-CARROT MUFFINS (vegan, low-fat)

Yield: 10 muffins

Dry Mix:
1  cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1  tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup brown sugar
Wet Mix:
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1/4 cup aquafaba (cooking liquid from cooking chickpeas, or liquid from canned chickpeas)
3 Tbsp oil
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Additional Ingredients:
8 oz. crushed pineapple, drained thoroughly
(NOTE: If you have only canned pineapple slices, use 6 slices and shred with a fork; drain thoroughly.)
1 1/2 cups grated raw carrot, squeezed by hand to remove juice.
1/2 cup raisins
Optional:
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans

Turn the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease 10 muffin cups with cake release, or line with unbleached paper cupcake liners.

In one bowl, mix together the Dry Mix ingredients with a whisk.

In a larger bowl whisk together the Wet Mix ingredients thoroughly.  Pour in the Dry Mix and stir gently.  Add the pineapple, grated carrots and raisins (and optional nuts, if using). Mix just enough to distribute the ingredients evenly.

Distribute the batter evenly between 10 prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick poked into the center of one muffin comes out clean.

Place the muffin tin on a rack for a few minutes, then carefully loosen the muffins from the cups and turn on their sides.

Nutrition Facts (without nuts)
Nutrition (per muffin): 215 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.6g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 248.2mg sodium, 332.6mg potassium, 42.5g carbohydrates, 2.9g fiber, 25.4g sugar, 3.1g protein, 6.3 points.

Nutrition Facts (with optional nuts)
Nutrition (per muffin): 254 calories, 72 calories from fat, 8.4g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 248.3mg sodium, 358.4mg potassium, 43.3g carbohydrates, 3.3g fiber, 25.6g sugar, 4g protein, 7.4 points.

Enjoy!

Friday, October 14, 2016

NEW VEGAN "SOUR CREAM" ICE CREAM WITH QUICK & EASY BROWN SUGAR "CARAMEL" SYRUP

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This recipe came about in my kitchen two days ago when I was trying to think of something yummy to do with 2 cups of homemade vegan "sweet crema" that I had made for Thanksgiving dessert but never used, and some leftover vegan sour cream (both items made with silken tofu).  I thought about ice cream right away because both of these low-fat items are so nice, creamy and rich-tasting. But I wasn't sure if there was such a thing as Sour Cream Ice Cream.  However, it sounded possible, so I looked it up.  And, yes, there is such a thing as Sour Cream Ice Cream. The two recipes I found were egg-free, which is a good start for a vegan interpretation. One contained sour cream, whole milk yogurt and whole milk.  The other contained sourcream, 1/2 and 1/2, and heavy cream.

So, with some skepticism, I used my "sweet crema" (I'll post the recipe another time) and the leftover Tofu Sour Cream (recipe here) with some soymilk.  But it turned out to be absolutely delicious!  Topped with dribbles of the easy Brown Sugar Sauce (recipe below)...mmm, mmm!

NOTE: There's no need to make two additional recipes in order to make the ice cream recipe. To create a "from scratch" recipe (see below), I combined the ingredients for my "sweet crema" and 1/3 of my Tofu Sour Cream recipe, along with all of the additional ingredients.

Printable Recipe

BRYANNA'S VEGAN "SOUR CREAM" ICE CREAM
Servings: 8

16 oz extra-firm silken tofu (1+1/3 MoriNu 12 oz. shelf-stable cartons)
1 cup creamy original soymilk (I use Silk Organic Original), or other creamy non-dairy milk (NOT full-fat coconut milk)
(NOTE: If you prefer, you can use your favorite commercial vegan creamer, such as So Delicious Original Coconut Creamer)
3/4 cup light-colored unbleached organic granulated sugar
4 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp Instant Clear Jel or UltraGel (OR 1/2 tsp guar gum or xanthan gum)
(NOTE: the above ingredients help keep the ice cream from getting icy)

1 tsp lemon oil or 2 tsp. finely-grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/8 tsp salt

Crumble the tofu into a blender and add all other ingredients.  Blend until VERY smooth.  Chill mixture until it is very cold.

Freeze according to the directions for your ice cream maker. I use a Cuisinart ICE-30BC 2-Quart Automatic Ice Cream Maker and this recipe took about 20 minutes freezing time.

Spread the mixture into a 2 quart rectangular glass or ceramic baking pan or a rectangular 2 qt. freezer container. Cover and freeze for several hours before serving-- preferably overnight.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 119 calories, 11 calories from fat, 1.6g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 136.5mg sodium, 140.8mg potassium, 21.7g carbohydrates, less than 1g fiber, 20.3g sugar, 5.1g protein, 3.3 points.


BRYANNA'S QUICK & EASY BROWN SUGAR "CARAMEL" SYRUP 
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
This isn't a real caramel sauce.  In that type of recipe, you must actually caramelize white sugar. But, believe me, this short-cut version is delish!

1 cup brown sugar (light brown or regular-- your pick)
1/4 cup vegan butter
1/2 cup creamy non-daiiry milk (I use Silk Organic Original) OR vegan creamer such as So Delicious Original Coconut Creamer
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

Whisk together all of the ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Keep whisking gently for about 5 minutes, or until it thicken. Remove from heat. Serve warm or refrigerate. The warm sauce will harden a bit when dribbled over ice cream.

To reheat, microwave briefly at low power.

Nutrition (per 1 Tbsp serving): 55 calories, 17 calories from fat, 1.9g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 25.7mg sodium, 39.4mg potassium, 9.2g carbohydrates, less than 1g fiber, 9g sugar, less than 1g protein, 1.6 points.

Enjoy!



Monday, October 3, 2016

AUTUMNAL LEEK, CELERY AND WHITE BEAN SOUP

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A couple of days ago, our neighbor and friend, Noni, gifted us with with some fresh leeks and celery from her garden.  I love leeks and use celery regualrly, but I was astonished at the dark green color and intense flavor of this homegrown celery. And so many leaves, which are so full of flavor.


(TIP: If you only have access to storebought celery, choose the greenest you can find and use all of the celery tops and leaves, and the inner stalks with leaves, augmenting with chopped stalks if necessary.)

I immediately decided that we would have a leek and celery soup with white beans for dinner.  I would also use much more celery than I usually do. The soup is simple and fairly quick to make, and makes a satisfying, warming autumn meal.  I hope you enjoy it.


Printable Recipe

BRYANNA'S AUTUMNAL LEEK, CELERY AND WHITE BEAN SOUP
Servings: 6

2-3 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups thinly-sliced white and light green parts of cleaned and trimmed fresh leeks
4 cups thinly-sliced fresh celery leaves and upper and inner stalks with leaves
4 1/2 to 5 cups thinly sliced cleaned and trimmed leek greens
6 cups rich vegan broth (I like Better than Bouillon No-Chicken Vegan Broth Paste)
4 cups (or 2/ 19 oz. [540 m cooked white kidney beans, or cannellini beans or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1  bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 Tbsp vegan basil pesto
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Garnishes:
smoked hot paprika
extra-virgin olive oil or dark sesame oil

Heat the oil in a soup pot over high heat.  Add the white and light green leek parts and stir witgh a wooden spoon until wilted.  Add the celery and stir til wilted.  Now add the green leek parts and stir again until wilted.  Add a sprinkle of salt.  Turn the heat down to Medium, cover and cook about 10 more minutes, stirring every few minutes and turning the heat down if it starts to stick.


Add the broth, beans, bay leaf, and thyme. Stir and bring to a simmer over high heat.  Turn down to a low simmer, cover and cook about 20 minutes.  Stir in the pesto and taste for seasoning.

Ladle into soup bowls, drizzling each with a teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil, or dark Asian sesame oil.  Sprinkle with smoked hot paprika and serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 279 calories, 47 calories from fat, 5.4g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 795mg sodium, 1059.5mg potassium, 47.3g carbohydrates, 10.7g fiber, 6.7g sugar, 14.8g protein, 8.2 points.

Enjoy!