Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gluten Free Vegan Gingerbread

I've always sympathized with the gluten free folks.  Like me, they are limited at restaurants and parties.  My sister called me last week asking if I knew how to make gluten free gingerbread for one of her friends.   Making something without gluten is a fun challenge just like veganizing a recipe.  A success would work out conveniently, because my stepsister has Celiac and I had an invite to a family party later in the week.  Fortunately she likes gingerbread.

My sister stopped by and I started with a vegan recipe that I know and love: Bryanna's Low-Fat Vegan Gingerbread People.

We mixed it up using Bob's Red Mill gluten free flour.  The dough was stickier than I remembered and I knew some doctoring was necessary.  I took a quick taste and noticed that it had a very beany flavor.  I decided on some brown rice flour to counter the bean based red mill and thicken up the dough.    In addition, I added some instant coffee to cover it up and make for a richer taste.  As I added more flour and the dough continued to be sticky, I got worried that it wouldn't hold together well so I added some xantham gum.

In the end, these turned out perfectly and everyone enjoyed them including the folks that didn't have vegan or gluten free requirements.

Here's my best attempt at documenting the recipe!

Gluten Free Vegan Gingerbread Recipe
*Based on Bryanna Clark Grogran's Gingerbread People Recipe

1/4 cup of Earth Balance
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp of xantham gum
1 T of maple syrup
1 T of warm water mixed with 1.5 tsp of instant coffee
1/3 apple juice
1/2 tsp of each: ginger, allspice, and cinnamon
1/2 cup + 1 T of molasses
3 1/4 cup of Bob's Red Mill gluten free mix
1/4-1/2 cup of brown rice flour

In a large bowl mix together: sugar, Earth Balance, baking soda, baking powder, salt, xantham gum, and spices until creamy. Add the juice, syrup, coffee, and molasses and thoroughly mix.  Slowly add Red Mill and 1/4 cup of rice flour and mix until it forms into a dough.  Add more brown rice flour as necessary.  This dough will be a little sticky until chilled.

Chill 2 hours or up to 4 days.  The longer it chills, the better these cookies taste.  The first batch was good, but the second batch made two days later was really incredible.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roll out dough to 1/4 inch think and cut out cookies.  Don't be shy with the flour, this dough is stickier than standard wheat flour based dough.  I used rice flour for rolling.   Bake until lightly browned for 10-15 minutes.   Let cool 5-10 minutes on sheets and then move to a rack.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


This year I was lucky to be overwhelmed with invites to various feasts.  Unfortunately, I couldn't say yes to everyone.  Since I had promised to help make  vegan Thanksgiving meal with some friends, my schedule was quite filled up with cooking. 

In the afternoon, I bowed out of further cooking responsibilities and headed over to my family's for an omni meal.  It was nice to visit with everyone and I snacked  bit on the few vegan side dishes before heading back to the vegan meal.

We had a wonderful salad that was topped with grated beets, carrot, and rutabaga.  I didn't even think to take a photo at the time. The meal consisted of colcannon, homemade cranberry sauce, braised carrots, stuffed butternut squash, roasted asparagus, shitake gravy, and Hazelnut En Croute Field Roast.

The photo of my plate was taken with my phone as I forgot a camera.  Not bad, huh?  This was the first year we tried the En Croute Field Roast.  It is incredibly flavorful.  The stuffing is made with cranberries, apples and ginger and the crunchy phyllo dough crust is great.  It is a little expensive, but certainly easier to make than the homemade unturkey roast that I normally bake.

The stuffed butternut squash is a recipe from from Joanna's new zine called Potluck Mania.  The recipe is actually for quinoa stuffed acorn squash.  The acorn squash I grabbed from my CSA stash had started to go bad, so we subbed butternut.  Also, because we had some omnis visiting,  I was worried that quinoa might be too different, so I used brown rice.  Otherwise the recipe stayed the same and to be honest, it was a hit with everyone!  Here's the stuffed squash, isn't it pretty?

A couple of the folks that joined us, brought fresh mint and rum.  We had quite a few mojitos and by dessert time rolled around, I once again forgot photos.

The original plan was sweet potato pie.  Unfortunately, the sweet potatoes had seen better days, so we were forced to use canned pumpkin.  It was still delicious.  The other hostess also made cranberry kissel.  This is a Russian dish that is basically a fruit pudding.  It is simply, pureed fruit and sugar with a thickening starch.  She served it with some vanilla soy milk drizzled on top and sliced almonds.

It was wonderful, cruelty free meal.  Hope everyone out there also had a great Thanksgiving with friends and family.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gingerbread Sourdough Pancakes

One of my favorites restaurants in Providence serves vegan gingerbread pancakes during the fall/winter season.  Since the sourdough at my house required feeding, it seemed like a good idea to adapt the standard recipe I use for sourdough pancakes.

The recipe I started with, is from this website.  When using their recipe, I always skip the egg replacer and most of the oil.  The sourdough I am using, seems to handle the lack of egg just fine!

These gingerbread pancakes came out perfectly.  They'll likely become a holiday staple at my house.

Jody's Vegan Sourdough Gingerbread Pancake Recipe
2 Cups of sourdough starter
2 Tbs of molasses
1  tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt
a  splash of canola oil

1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
optional: 1/2 tsp of instant coffee mixed with a few tablespoons of warm (NOT hot) water

Mix starter with molasses, salt, and oil.  Let sit for a few minutes.  Sprinkle baking soda and fold in. (Make sure you use a big enough bowl as sourdough can expand a lot due to the baking soda.)  Mix in the coffee and spices.  Then make your pancakes!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Boston Vegetarian Food Festival

My posts have been few and far between here. Though, I have been regularly updating Vegan Cookbook Challenge. Recently, I checked out the new pizza restaurant in Allston called Peace o' Pie. The entry is on my New England Vegan Dining Guide blog.

This weekend was busy. On Saturday, I headed to the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival. This year they expanded to two days. Part of the reason was to help with overcrowding. To be honest, it was still pretty crazy. My goal was to get there early, check out the vendors, score some free samples, and leave as quickly as possible to avoid being pushed around by the mass of people.

The highlight this year for me was the Vegan Treats Bakery table. Those folks make some amazing stuff. I got two items: the Peanut Butter Bomb which I tried in NYC a few years ago and of course, I had to get a glazed doughnut too. There was so much amazing sugary goodness. It makes me wish I lived in PA, thought it is probably best that I don't!

Just a portion of the table:

There were many great vendors sharing samples of their products. I tried everything from veggie burgers to ice cream to sauerkraut to vegan chocolates. Here's a snapshot of the freebies I snagged. In addition, I picked up a bunch of coupons. The mac and cheese was a purchase as I haven't tried that brand yet.

Also this weekend, we drove down to RI to see the Jackolantern Spectacular. Here's a some of my favorite photos from that event.
Obama and the oh so scary double George Bush pumpkins

Monday, September 07, 2009

Corn, Glorious Corn!

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to attend a cooking class with Didi Emmons. She is one of the original owners of Veggie Planet in Cambridge and has authored a couple of vegetarian cookbooks. I'm a huge fan of Entertaining for a Veggie Planet.

The class was based completely around corn. There was about 30 students. Didi showed us how to make some of the recipes and then we broke into groups and cooked. After, we sat down and enjoyed dinner together. I met some great people. Here are some of the pictures I took!

Bowls and bowls of corn after removing the husks...

Corn stew with yellow tomatoes.

This is a Deborah Madison recipe from Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets.

The dinner plate wasn't incredibly photogenic.

It includes: corn on the cob with a spicy dressing, tomato and basil salad, the corn stew, and Didi's own corn pudding. We also had a delicious corn soup with avocado cream to start! For dessert we had some chocolate zucchini cake.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Pumpkin Ravioli and Amazing Brownies

I've been lax in my posting. Sometimes life gets in the way and sometimes I'm just not that inspired. This weekend a friend that also loves to cook called. We chatted and decided that we would get together on Sunday try out some new recipes. It was a great day and the creativity really sparked me to start blogging again.

Pumpkin pasta seems a little odd for this time of year, but Cindy had been bugging me to teach her how to make fresh pasta and this is my favorite kind. It is amazingly simple to create noodles with the pasta maker. Ravioli were honestly a little too much work and I'd likely avoid it in the future.

The pasta itself is just flour, canned pumpkin and some nutmeg. For stuffing we made a tofu ricotta with chopped up garlic, shitake mushrooms, and parsley. She grabbed some fresh sage from the garden. I sliced it up and sauteed the sage with some earth balance for a flavorful and simple finish.

The garden was brimming with zucchini and I stumbled upon a recipe for Zucchini Brownies over at VegSpinz, so we gave them a try. Honestly my expectations weren't high, but these completely blew us away. These are hands down the best homemade brownies I have eaten vegan or not in years. They're moist and rich and just incredibly good. Make them now!