My friend and hairstylist Erin and I constantly talk about plant based food and like to share thoughts and recipes. She was telling me about this nutritional yeast spread she makes and eats on toast and sandwiches. She couldn't say the exact quantities because she just throws it together, but gave me a list of ingredients. I didn't have exactly what she used in my kitchen but pretty close, and this is what I came up with. It packs a punch in the flavour department, and I know it will be something I make on the regular. I don't have a lot of examples for delicious combinations using this spread yet because I've just started playing around with it. So far on a sandwich..... awesome. For breakfast spread on toast with some sliced apple, really good too. The best part is you can just dump all the ingredients into a container and blitz it up with a hand blender and it's ready to go.
2/3 cup Nutritional Yeast
2 Tbsp Tahini
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/3 cup Flat Leaf Parsley, loosely packed
1/2 cup veg stock
1 tsp lemon juice
couple pinches raw sugar
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp korean chile powder
sea salt and white pepper to taste
Simply Blend all ingredients with an immersion blender. I tried it first in a food processor and it wouldn't emulsify properly, but once everything was pureed, I just put it in a bowl and whisked it and it came together properly. Refrigerate and ideally consume within a few days.
I decided to make another recipe from the vegan 100 cookbook I have. It's almost the same process as the vegan mozzarella I tried from same book (linked below) , except it is set with agar agar powder and pressed into small ramekins, then flipped out so you can slice or spread it. Now in that book it is called a cheese, but I'm more inclined to call it a pate. That's how it feels when I slice it and eat it based on things I've made in the past. But anyway whatever you want to call it, it's really tasty. I guess I tweaked the recipe because I rarely follow them 100%.
Just puree all ingredients in a food processor then heat it in a pan over med heat stirring constantly until it thickens and comes together. Then, portion into little dishes or ramekins. greased with coconut oil. (only if you want it to look pretty on a plate)
The smoky flavour is really tasty and it was fun on a little vegan picky plate or "charcuterie" plate. I used what I had on hand for condiments. The spicy red pepper jelly I tried with it was really good. Add in crusty baguette and a glass of red wine. Pretty easy, healthy & fun meal.
Spread it on a sandwich
Well my sandwich was epic. I wish it was as simple as just sharing a quick recipe, but it involved random components that I had kicking around in my fridge. I will link the recipes for said components because each thing serves a delicious purpose in it's own right, which is why I had things to work with in the first place, and who knows maybe someone will want to make all the things. For sure that's how I like to roll. Anyway, for the sandwich situation I used the smoked paprika sage cheese as well as the following ingredients:
Chapatis are a type of flatbread or "roti" common in India. I remember the first time I made and ate Chapatis was in 2nd year Culinary School. It was the international rotation. We really did cook our way around the world for a few weeks. What struck me in my memory about these was how ridiculously simple they were. Just flour, water, salt and typically brushed with ghee (i used earth balance spread) I remember making them at home a lot for a stint after we made them in school, and really I should make them more often now. What a tasty treat. I like it just as much as naan honestly and it takes a fraction of the time. They are typically made with 100% whole wheat flour. I like that they lend well to being whole grain without actually tasting like it. (not that I dislike the taste of whole wheat, I love it, but you know what I'm sayin). They are the perfect vehicle for mopping up spicy curries.
Yield: 12 Chapatis
My recipe for Red Lentil Dhal with Coconut Milk is delicious, inexpensive, and perfect for scooping onto chapati.
You can also see how I make chapati in my YouTube Video for Dhal & Chapati
Valentine's Day is right around the corner. My heart is with a man that lives on the other side of the ocean and I wanted to send him something home made that would ship well. He loves pistachio ice cream and when we met the first time in Davos he gave me literally 15 bars of Swiss chocolate to take back to Canada. Safe to say he's a fan of chocolate. So that's the inspiration for these little V-day heart cookies. I think they are kind of adorable. They are also dead easy. Shortbread is awesome like that. I love how versatile shortbread cookies are too. I've made them a million ways over the years working in restaurant kitchens and at home. Pink Peppercorn (a Vday function), fresh rosemary (savory shortbread on a cheese plate), lavender (accompanied the bill fold when customers came to pay after dinner) are the ones that pop into my mind as I write this. Ahh food memories. Those all were made with real butter but now a days at home I am cooking with Earth Balance. I put extra cookies in my freezer and I actually love them straight from the ice box.
This is a small batch. I was able to fit all of the cookies in one round on a cookie sheet. 75 g of chocolate was enough for me to dip all of the cookies. Double the recipe if you want more than this!
Chocolate for Dipping:
1. Cream together vegan butter and powdered sugar for a couple of minutes. Scrape down sides and mix in your vanilla.
2. Add the flour and beat together on a slow speed until combined. Don't over mix.
3. Form dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350°F while dough is chilling.
4. To roll out your dough you will need to dust your counter space liberally with flour, as well as the shortbread dough and rolling pin to prevent sticking. Roll out to desired thickness. It really doesn't matter how thick as long as they are all uniform in size. I rolled mine to about a 1/4 inch thick. Choose desired cookie cutter. Gather your scraps into a new disc and re roll and cut out shapes until you have used up all the dough.
5. Bake cookies on a parchment lined sheet pan for about 12 minutes. They are done when you start to see a bit of colour on the edges and bottoms. Let cookies cool completely before dipping them in chocolate.
Chocolate for Dipping Cookies:
Using the double boiler method with a pot of boiling water and a small bowl over top, melt your chocolate (broken into pieces first) and coconut oil together until smooth uniform. Simply dip half of your cookie in the chocolate, sprinkle on chopped toasted nuts of your choosing and a sprinkle of sea salt. When you are done garnishing the cookies just pop them into the fridge to set.
Yield: 1 x 8 inch tart
A classic French Tart is a beautiful thing. I first fell in love with tarts, like truly developed an affinity for them, when I was in my early 20s (before culinary school) watching food network TV all winter. Specifically French Food at Home with Laura Calder. Her cooking style had a pretty big impact on me. It was for me visually stunning, and at the time exactly the type of food I was really wanting to make in my own kitchen. There was a comfort to her food but also an elegance. I own all or most of her cookbooks and she goes into detail about tart bases in at least 2 of them. Different recipes for creamy tarts, fruit tarts, and galettes. Some you press in the tart pan in pieces, others you want to roll out with your rolling pin. Mix your dough by hand, or in a food processor. So I guess all of this is what runs through my mind when I think about any kind of French Tart.
Even though how I eat has changed as far as what I consume, everything I love about making and eating tarts is possible. I just had a slice of this vegan apple tart, along side a scoop of "So Delicious" (the name don't lie!) Cashew Vanilla Ice cream. (My feelings about ice cream run just as deep as they do for French Tarts, so this will be a post for another day) It was delicious and I'm fairly certain most people wouldn't realize it was dairy/egg free unless you told them. This fact is at least part of my drive for experimenting these days. It doesn't taste vegan. It just tastes damn good.
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cold vegan butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup ice water
1 1/4 cup sweetened apple sauce. (I had unsweetened and just whisked in a bit of powdered sugar and cinnamon to taste)
2 large green apples, cored and sliced a little less than 1/4 inch thick (I didn't peel mine)
1 tbsp vegan butter
3 tbsp sugar
This vegan turmeric milk is delicious. If you are a fan of chai tea lattes this would be right up your alley. Almond and coconut milks are infused with fresh turmeric and ginger, cinnamon sticks, star anise and black peppercorns. A touch of maple syrup is added at the end to help balance heavy spice. Served hot it is a wonderful anytime treat. I like it in the afternoon with something sweet along side or as a calming drink before bed. Drink it hot in the cooler months or chilled over ice on a hot summer day. Why not add a shot of amber rum anytime?
Holy health claims.
Now when reading up on the benefits of turmeric there are a lot of big claims. I read about it being possibly beneficial for arthritis, depression, aging, cancer, heart disease. But I didn't really see any scientific studies linked beside these articles. Maybe it is a lot of hype without enough evidence to back it up. I'm just a chef. I don't know a damn thing about medicine and science. I did learn that the studies done on turmeric involved extracts, where the levels of curcumin would be a lot higher than what you would be able to consume through cooking with turmeric. So this is where turmeric supplements come in.
It is note worthy that if curcumin is beneficial to ones overall health, it isn't easily absorbed into the blood stream. A couple of things help absorption. One is black peppercorns. They contain a substance called piperine that aids absorption. The other point is that curcumin is fat soluble. One article suggested consuming turmeric with a fatty meal. I also have seen other turmeric milk recipes that add coconut oil to the milk. I choose not to do that because I don't really feel like drinking oil.
Regardless of what the deal is with turmeric and it's health benefits I can tell you that you should make this beverage because it's tasty AF. Curl up with a blanket and a book and a cup of this delicious golden aromatic beverage and let the day wile away.
What the heck is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a flowering plant from the ginger family. It has been used medicinally for thousands of years in India and China. It was even used in religious ceremony, it's bright yellow colour symbolizing the sun.
The claims surrounding the use of turmeric for medicinal purposes continue today. This is because of a compound found in turmeric called curcumin. It contains antioxidants and is shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.
Just put everything into a pot except the maple syrup. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low. I think I let mine infuse for about an hour. I just started doing laundry and cleaning and I tasted it periodically. Once it tasted SPICY I strained the milk and added the maple. You could add more if you like it sweeter. It reduced down to 1 L of milk when finished. For a little extra decadence, try subbing some of the almond milk for more coconut milk. Oh yeah, I used my bodum to froth the milk for the picture because I was feeling fancy. Just pour the hot milk into a bodum and pump the lever up and down quickly and instant froth. No special gadgets necessary.
1 L Nut milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1 can full fat or lite coconut milk
50 g (big thumb size) of fresh ginger, thinly sliced (I don't even peel my ginger guys..like ever)
75 g fresh turmeric, thinly sliced
4 x Cinnamon Stick
6ish x Star Anise (mine were all broken in the bag, how am I supposed to count accurately)
a sprinkle of Black Peppercorns
1 x Tbsp Maple Syrup (or more to taste)
Vegan Avocado & Tofu Chocolate Mousse Tart with Chocolate Shortbread Crust. Garnished with Strawberries, Chile and Sea Salt
Yield: two 6x2 inch tarts or 1 larger tart
Serves: 8 - 10 people
Well I do really like dessert and I'm pretty darn happy with how my chocolate mousse tart turned out. Korean chile powder and Himalayan sea salt elevate the recipe for me. A perfect chocolate dessert for the vegan foodie in your life. Valentines day is right around the corner and I think this would be gorgeous. I envision a winter-y night, candles on the table, a slice of this tart and a glass of port along side. Certainly you could leave out the Korean chile powder for a more kid friendly version and it would still be delicious. Creamy chocolate avocado and tofu mousse filling, delicious crisp vegan chocolate shortbread crust and fresh strawberries. I developed this recipe to fit into my smaller tart pans. They are 6 inches in diameter with 2 inch high sides and it made 2 of them. Math and conversions aren't my strong point but can we assume this would work for a 12 inch tart then?! Or halve it and make one smaller tart! I wanted to use tofu and avocado because I wanted the healthy fats from the avocado and the protein from the tofu in there. I'm sure you could use more of either the avocado or the tofu if you didn't have both. I haven't tested this yet though.
Learn from my mistakes for the best vegan chocolate mousse tart experience.
Initially I wanted the entire tart to be no bake. But in the end I had to go with taste not convenience. For the first tart shell attempt I used dates, almonds, and cocoa as the base. While it tasted good it is the WRONG texture for the vegan chocolate mousse filling. I brought the first trial to the pub where I work to get feedback from my kitchen friends and everyone said the same thing. SO, there are lots of versions on the internet for vegan chocolate mousse tarts with a date crust and my advice is don't do it!!!! The crisp chocolate shortbread crust is a much better experience because it is a perfect contrast to the creamy chocolate mousse filling. Or maybe there is a crisp no bake crust out there, but the moral of the story is chewy soft crust and creamy mousse filling together = plz no.
Vegan Chocolate Shortbread Tart Shell
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup vegan butter (I used earth balance)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
6 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp KCP (optional) (Korean Chile powder) *
I prefer to make tart dough in my food processor. It just comes together so quickly, but certainly by hand works too.
1. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it comes together and pulls away from sides. Don't over mix or you will have a tough tart shell on your hands.
2. Press into two 6 x 2 inch tart shells (or one larger one). Refrigerate for 30 minutes or throw it in the freezer for a bit. Preheat your oven to 350° F while the dough chills.
3. Put your chilled chocolate tart shells on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 or so minutes. They poof a tiny bit when finished and are still a bit soft to the touch. Don't over bake. They will crisp up as they cool. (I didn't do the method where you line the tart shell with parchment and fill with beans or weights. The dough didn't shrink or pull away from the sides at all so I was happy with the results)
4. While your crust is cooling you can prepare the chocolate avocado & tofu mousse. Also don't get antsy and try to take the shells out of their pans right away....you want to let them cool a bit to prevent sad tart shell breakage.
* KCP is one of my favourite red pepper powders to sprinkle on food so this is what I used. The spice level isn't crazy. I found it at a global food market where I live. It is the same one used for Kimchi, which it states on the bag. I like it because it's not exactly powdery. It has a bit of a coarser texture kind of like flaked sea salt.
Vegan Avocado & Tofu Chocolate Mousse Tart Filling
2 Ripe Avocados
200 g firm tofu
1 Tbsp espresso powder (optional)
2/3 cup maple syrup for less sweet (or 1 cup maple syrup more sweet) or to taste I think depends on the cocoa used.
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla
1/8th tsp salt
2 tsp KCP (optional) + more for garnish
1/4 cup almond milk
Himalayan Sea Salt or sea salt of your choice to garnish
Fresh Strawberries for garnish
1. Put all ingredients into your food processor, (except Himalayan sea salt and strawberries) starting with the lesser amount of maple syrup. Blend until smooth, then taste and adjust the sweetness to your liking.
2. Now you can divide the filling between the two cooled tart shells and refrigerate for a couple of hours until it firms up. When you are ready to serve wash some fresh strawberries, slice them up and decorate however you want. I sprinkled my tart with a little bit more KCP and a few cracks of pink Himalayan sea salt. YUM. Then I ate a third of the tart and drank some wine. I had to make sure it was good.
Hey! I'm Trisha