Tag Archives: Vegan Recipes

Happy New Year!! Let’s start it with a Raw Revolution Giveaway!

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Thank you for helping make 2014 an incredible year for me! I am so grateful for all the love, encouragement, comments, positive energy, interest, and inspiration.  It was my readers and followers in social media that inspired my biggest project yet—the My Eclectic Kitchen app!  With your help, since its release in late June, the My Eclectic Kitchen app has consistently ranked in the top 100 food and drink charts on iTunes, out of about 5,000 apps!   That is a great achievement for me and I am so thankful!!!

The last part of the year was such a whirlwind. I can’t wait to get back into my test kitchen and come up with even more delicious vegan, gluten-, and soy-free recipes for you to try and share with your loved ones.  also currently working on a few other projects and am excited to share them with you in 2015!

May you have a fun and safe new year!  Wishing you and your loved ones all the best in 2015!

To kick off the new year, I want to give away one of my favorite things right now.

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I teamed up with my friends at Raw Revolution to give away an amazing sampler pack of my favorite Raw Revolution bars!!!  I will also throw in an organic cotton My Eclectic Kitchen tote bag!

Raw Revolution bars saved me during the holidays when I ran around town and needed some quick and clean energy!  Their bars are raw, all organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, kosher, and vegan.  Even better, they contain NO preservatives, artificial ingredients, refined sugars, or proteins!

Here’s how to win this giveaway contest.  In Instagram:

1) Like the Raw Revolution giveaway post and follow @rawrev & @yvonne_deliciously_vegan.

2) Tag 3 friends

3) Tell us why you’d like to win!

The contest is open worldwide and until Sunday, January 3rd, 11pm PST. You may enter once a day.

If you can’t wait until Sunday to get these bars, you can order via the Raw Revolution website and use coupon code MEKsave to save 15% on your entire purchase!  My favorite bars are the Chocolate Crave bars, by the way, so don’t forget to order a few of those!

I hope you enter the contest, try these bars, and enjoy them just the same!

Once again, may you have an amazing 2015!  May it be filled with everything you dream of and more!  Can’t wait to share so much more with you in 2015!!!

 

Much Love,

Yvonne

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Chocolate Mousse Pecan Tart

_MG_2272This easy-to-make chocolate mousse tart is cause for celebration.   Thanksgiving, a weekend, or any day of the week for that matter, is the ideal occasion for serving this simple, smooth, and decadent chocolate mousse tart.  To make it more appropriate for Fall, we topped this off with pecan halves and glossed them with a glazed of apricot jam.  This is our clean version of a chocolate mousse/pecan pie!

When nourishing, healing, whole, plant-based food tastes this delicious, it’s cause for even more celebration! Enjoy!

 

My dear friend, Jasmineand I created a bountiful Thanksgiving feast for our readers to enjoy, which consists of 13 deliciously tantalizing recipes! We’re referring to this collection of recipes as our Sweet Eclectic Thanksgiving celebration! We hope you include this recipe, as well as our other recipes, on your holiday tables!

Photo credit: Jasmine Briones

Please make sure to tag us on Instagram: @yvonne_deliciously_vegan  @sweetsimplevegan  Twitter: @yvonnemrod  @sweetsimpleveg and hashtag #SweetEclecticThanksgiving and #MyEclecticKitchen if you recreate any of our recipes!  We would love to see your photos and Thanksgiving feasts!

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Sweet Potato Chocolate Mousse Pecan Tart

Servings: 9

Time: 1 hour

Diet: V, GF, GFV, DF, SF, SRF

Ingredients

Crust:

1 1/2 cup raw pecans

1 1/2cup soft medjool dates, pitted

2 Tbsp melted coconut oil

1 1/2 Tbsp cacao powder

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract (no alcohol)

1/3 tsp sea salt

 

Mousse:

1 1/2 cup sweet potato, cooked

3 Tbsp cacao powder

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (no alcohol)

12 soft medjool dates, pitted

1/2 cup plus 4 1/2 Tbsp almond milk (or any non-dairy milk)

1 ½ tsp coconut oil

pinch sea salt

liquid stevia drops, as needed

 

Garnish:

Pecan halves, as needed

¼ cup Apricot Jam

1 Tbsp filtered water

 

Directions

Crust:

1. Place nuts and dates in a food processor with sea salt and pulse to chop until they are to your desired fineness.  You’ll want a finer crust than a chunky one. Test the crust by spooning out a small amount of mixture and rolling it in your hands. If the ingredients hold together, your crust is perfect. If you don’t feel it’s holding together, try to mix the mixture with your hands until it comes together.  2. Pour the crust mixture into an 8” or 9” tart pan with a removable bottom. Press firmly, making sure that the edges are well-packed and that the base is relatively even throughout. Freeze for about 25 minutes. Make the mousse in the meantime.

 

Chocolate Mousse:.

1. Cook the sweet potato. Bake at 450 degrees F for 50 minutes, flipping it halfway through or steam for 15-20 minutes on the stovetop (when steaming, add about a cup of filtered water in a pot).

Note: I prefer peeling the sweet potato after it has been cooked because it’s time-saving. When it is cooked, cut it lengthwise in the center and open it. Spoon out 1 ½ cup of the tender flesh.

2. In a high-powered blender, add the almond milk, coconut oil, vanilla (if you choose to use it), dates, and sweet potato. Blend until smooth.

3. Taste and add liquid stevia if it needs more sweetness. If you want the pudding to look more chocolatey, add 1 ½ tsp more cacao powder and half of a date or more stevia until it tastes just right.

 

Garnish:

In a small sauce pan, add the apricot jam and a little water just to make it more spreadable as a glaze.

 

Assemble:

1. Remove crust from the freezer

2. Spoon the mousse into the crust and spread evenly and flat with an offset spatula.

3. Top with pecans in any pattern you desire, and brush the pecans with apricot glaze (to make it shiny and look fresh!)

3. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Pop the outer part of tart pan off before slicing.  Note: this tart tastes and cuts best when chilled!

 

 

 

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Savory Pumpkin Pie

 

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My friend, Jasmine, and I created a Thanksgiving feast for our readers to enjoy, which consists of 13 deliciously tantalizing recipes! We’re referring to this collection of recipes as our Sweet Eclectic Thanksgiving celebration!

Since Jasmine and I both already have pumpkin pie recipes, but still wanted to incorporate pumpkin into our Thanksgiving menu, Jasmine came up with the idea of making a savory pumpkin pie!  We used my quiche recipes as a base and we just added a few more herbs and, of course, pumpkin into the mix!  It worked like a charm!

Not only is this savory pumpkin pie delicious, it is also vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free!  The herbs, almond meal, and oat flour give the crust a delicious flavor and a pleasant nutty texture.  The garbanzo filling provides somewhat of an “egg”-like filling, and the sautéed leeks, pumpkin, herbs, and sliced almonds add more dimensions in flavor and nutrients to the quiche-like pie.

We hope you include this recipe, as well as our other recipes, on your holiday tables!

If you’d like to try my Mushroom, Zucchini, and Leek Quiche and Leek and Almond Quiche recipes, find them in the My Eclectic Kitchen App!

This recipe was inspired by ingredients that Vitacost.com kindly sent to me.  Click on the ingredient links to purchase the same ingredients I used to this.  Click here for Vitacost.com savings.

 

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Photo Credit: Jasmine Briones

Please make sure to tag us on Instagram: @yvonne_deliciously_vegan  @sweetsimplevegan

 Twitter: @yvonnemrod  @sweetsimpleveg and hashtag #SweetEclecticThanksgiving and #MyEclecticKitchen if you recreate any of our recipes!  We would love to see your photos and Thanksgiving feasts!

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Savory Pumpkin Pie

Servings: 6-8

Time: 2 hours 40 minutes.

Diet: V, GF, GFV, DF, SF, SRF

 

Ingredients

Filling:

1 cup garbanzo bean flour

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 1/4 cups lukewarm water

3 cups leeks (about 3-4 medium leeks), pale and green parts only, cleaned well and thinly sliced

2 cups, baked pumpkin, ¼ “x 1/2” pieces

1 tsp flat leaf Italian parsley, roughly chopped

3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

2 Tbsp sliced almonds

 

Crust:

1 cup oat flour

1/2 cup almond flour

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

1/4 cup flat leaf Italian parsley, roughly chopped

1 Tbsp fresh thyme, roughly chopped

½ tsp sage, roughly chopped

1/8 tsp fine sea salt

2 pinches freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup cold-pressed grapeseed or olive oil

3 Tbsp filtered water

Tip: Oat flour can be made by grinding oat groats or rolled oats  in a blender or food processor until it has a fine flour-like  consistency.  Also, leftover almond pulp that has been saved in the freezer from making homemade almond milk can be used for the almond flour.

 

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together garbanzo bean flour, 1/2 tsp sea salt and 1 1/4 lukewarm water.  Cover with a plate and set aside at room temperature for 2 hours

2. Peel and deseed pumpkin. Cut into large pieces. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes. Halfway through baking, flip the pieces of pumpkin. Remove from the oven and cut them into smaller pieces, ¼” thick and as wide as ½” .

3. Sauté the pumpkin with 1 tsp coconut oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper until the pumpkin pieces brown. Set aside.

4. Turn down the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare the crust.

5. Spray a 9 ½-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with non-stick cooking spray and place it in the center of a baking sheet.

6. In a food processor, add all crust ingredients except for the oil and water. Pulse 3-4 times to combine. (If you don’t have a food processor, simply add to a bowl and mix very well)

7. Add water and oil, then pulse until the dough comes together and forms a ball. Place the dough on the prepared tart pan and press the crust into the pan, making sure to push the crust into the grooves of the pan.  Pat the dough until the crust is even.  Bake for 12 minutes, remove the crust from the oven, then set it aside to cool.  Raise the oven temperature to 500 degrees.

8. In the same sauté pan, heat 1/4 tsp coconut oil on medium heat, then sauté the leeks until translucent, about 7 minutes. .

9. Very carefully (because they will be hot) line the leeks evenly on the base of the crust, then layer on the pumpkin and sprinkle with slivered or sliced almonds.

10. With a large spoon, skim off and discard bubbles from the garbanzo mixture.

11. Add 1 tsp parsley and 3 Tbsp of melted coconut oil to the garbanzo flour mixture.  Whisk and pour the mixture onto the vegetables in the crust.  Immerse the vegetables into the liquid so they don’t burn in the oven, pressing down on the vegetables that stick out of the liquid.  If they continue to peek out of the batter, that’s fine. You might not need all of the garbanzo mixture—you might have about 3Tbsp of the garbanzo mixture left.

12. Carefully place the baking sheet into the preheated 500-degree F oven for 25-27 minutes.

13. Cool for 15 minutes before removing the outer part of the tart pan.  Slice and serve.

 

 

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Mushroom Gravy

 

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Thanksgiving is fast approaching and my lovely friend, Jasmine Briones, and I want to make your Thanksgiving one to remember! We created a bountiful feast for our readers to enjoy, which consists of 13 deliciously tantalizing recipes that will make everybody’s taste buds dance for joy! We’re referring to this collection of recipes as our Sweet Eclectic Thanksgiving celebration!

This easy and flavorful mushroom gravy goes perfectly with Cauliflower Puree and “Meat”loaf. The caramelized mushrooms and port wine give this gravy a nice richness, the herbs bring it to life, and the arrowroot thickens the gravy while giving it a glossy sheen. I like to make this gravy a day in advance so that the flavors merry well together overnight.

We hope you enjoy it!

 

Please make sure to tag us on 

Instagram: @yvonne_deliciously_vegan  @sweetsimplevegan

 Twitter: @yvonnemrod  @sweetsimpleveg 

and hashtag #SweetEclecticThanksgiving #MyEclecticKitchen if you recreate any of our recipes!  We would love to see your photos and Thanksgiving feasts!

 

Mushroom Gravy

Servings: 6-8

Time: 30 minutes

 

Ingredients

1 cup sweet onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp thyme, chopped

10 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced

¼ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp port

2 ½ cup vegetable stock

1 Tbsp arrowroot, ground

1/8 tsp parsley, chopped

1/8 tsp sage, chopped

1 pinch rosemary, chopped

 

Directions

Note: This recipe can be made one day in advance.

1. In a medium saucepot, add onions, garlic, and thyme. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until onions turn translucent and just start to brown. About 10 minutes. If the onions and garlic start to stick to the pan, add 2 Tbsp vegetable stock.

2. Add the crimini mushrooms, sea salt, pepper, and cook until the mushrooms begin to brown, stirring often. This can take 10 minutes.

3. Add the port and stir for about 1 ½ minutes.

4. Measure out the vegetable stock. Dissolve the arrowroot into the vegetable stock by whisking it with a small whisk or fork.

5. Add the vegetable stock and arrowroot mixture to the pan. Add the remaining herbs: parsley, sage, and rosemary.

6. Bring the gravy to a boil, then to a low simmer for about 15 minutes. Season to taste. Serve warm.

 

 

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Pistachio-Orange Blood Splattered Cupcakes

 

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Did you know that the combination of pistachio, orange zest, cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon are flavors often found in Middle Eastern desserts?  When brainstorming for soothing spices that compliment the Fall season, Middle Eastern desserts come to mind.  My Iranian mother-in-law pairs the spices with pistachio and orange blossom or rose water.  Since very few people have access to these special waters, a bit of simple and refreshing orange zest made it’s way into this recipe.  It is quite delightful!  I hope you try it!

For Halloween, if you’d like to make blood spatter cupcakes, top these with a simple coconut whipped cream and do a little Jackson Pollack action with some raspberry couli.

 

I want to give Vitacost.com a huge thanks for kindly sending me ingredients that inspired these cupcakes!  Click on the ingredient links to purchase the same ingredients we used to make these.  Click here for Vitacost.com savings. 

 

Pistachio-Orange Blood Splattered Cupcakes

Servings:  12

Time:  1 hour

Diet: V, GF, GFV, DF, SF

Ingredients

Cake:

Dry:

1 ¾ cup oat flour

1 cup coconut palm sugar

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp cardamom, ground

¼ tsp ginger, ground

1 tsp cinnamon, ground

zest of half a medium-large naval orange

1/3 cup roughly chopped pistachios

Wet:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

2 ½ Tbsp unsweetened applesauce

2 ½ Tbsp almond butter

 

Whipped Coconut Cream: (optional for Halloween)

One 15-ounce can full-fat coconut milk

1 Tbsp coconut sugar, optional

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 – 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, optional

 

Raspberry Couli: (optional for Halloween)

Pint raspberries

1 Tbsp maple syrup

 

Directions

1. Chill a can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight.

Cake:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  Line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners. (Alternatively, you can bake this in an 8-inch or two 6-inch cake pans, lined with parchment paper and sprayed with cooking spray.)

3.  In a large mixing bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.

4.  In another bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

5.  Fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture just until they combine.

6.  Place 2 heaping Tbsp of batter in each cupcake liner. Alternatively, distribute the batter evenly into the 2 6-inch cake pans or just place the batter in an 8-inch cake pan.

7.  Place the pan on a baking sheet, then into a preheated oven and bake for 27-30 minutes.  The cake should have a little bounce back when pressed.

8.  Cool the cakes in the pans for at least 1 hour.  While the cakes are cooling, make the whipped cream and raspberry couli.

 

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Coconut Whipped Cream:

1.  1.  Place the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator and leave it there until well-chilled.  I chill mine overnight or for a few days.

2.  Open the can of coconut milk upside down.  There, you will find coconut water- loose liquid.  Pour it out into a bowl or cup to drink, or save for later use in a smoothie.

3.  Carefully scoop out the thick layer into a bowl or mixing bowl of a stand mixer.  Make sure you don’t get liquid in the thick, solidified cream, or it will be difficult to whip and obtain soft peaks.

4.  Turn your mixer or hand beater to high speed, and whip the coconut cream for 3 to 5 minutes.

5. Whip until it becomes light and fluffy with soft peaks.  Mix in coconut sugar, vanilla, or cinnamon.  Whip it some more until combined.  Taste and adjust sweetness, vanilla, or cinnamon flavor.

6. Refrigerate until ready to use. Before using it, whisk it.

 

Raspberry Couli:

1. Wash and drain the raspberries.

2. Blend the raspberries, then stain through a sieve, using a ladel to help the juice through.

3. Add 1 Tbsp maple syrup and mix. Taste and adjust sweetness to taste with either more maple syrup or stevia drops.

 

Assemble:

1. When cupcakes have fully cooled, frost the cupcakes or cake with coconut whipped cream.

2. Dip clean fingertips into the raspberry couli and flick your fingers towards the cupcakes to spray the cupcakes with raspberry couli “blood”.

3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

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Sweet Potato Crab-less Crabby Cakes

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Make the most of the fall harvest with this sweet potato “crab” cake recipe. Though sweet potatoes are available year-round, they are at their sweetest in the fall and winter.

The mild sweet potato flavor and cayenne kick complement the “crab” flavor in these hearty cakes. You may be asking yourself how it is possible to make a vegan “crab” cake taste crab-like. Well, it ‘s amazing how well hearts of palm can mimic the texture of fresh crab meat and how sea kelp seasoning, dulse flakes, Old Bay seasoning, and ume plum vinegar can add flavors reminiscent of seafood in this recipe.  Served with a slightly spiced aioli, these sweet potato “crab” cakes are every bit enjoyable.  When serving this as a main course, I suggest serving with a big kale salad. Enjoy!

 

Sweet Potato “Crab” Cakes

Servings: 4 servings

Time: 45 minutes

Brief: The mild sweet potato flavor and cayenne kick complement the “crab” flavor in these hearty cakes.

Diet: V, GF, GFV, DF, SF, SRF

 

Ingredients:

Aoli:

½ cup cashews, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained

¼ cup filtered water

1/2 garlic clove

3 tsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp Sriracha chili sauce

sea salt to taste, optional

 

Crab Cakes:

2 ¼ cups sweet potato, diced and cooked

¼ cup jalapeno, finely chopped

¼ cup green bell pepper, finely chopped

15 oz. can hearts of palm, cut into fourths

½ tsp sea kelp delight seasoning or dulse flakes, optional

2 tsp Old Bay seasoning

2 Tbsp chopped parsley

¼ cup plain cashew cream or plain almond yogurt

2 tsp dijon mustard

¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp plain dry gluten-free breadcrumbs plus about ¾ cup for coating

¼ tsp ume plum vinegar

3 dashes cayenne pepper

grapeseed or olive oil for frying, optional

Note: You can also these with gluten-free panko breadcrumbs

 

Other Ingredients:

2 red bell pepper, optional

 

Directions:

1. Soak cashews overnight in filtered water.

2. Make the aoili. Add all the ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. If it is too thick, thin the sauce with filtered water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste for seasoning. If you think it needs salt or more heat, simply add sea salt and more Sriracha.  Blend once more to give it one last mix. Set sauce aside.

3. In a skillet, add jalapeno pepper, bell pepper and diced sweet potato until crisp-tender for about 5 minutes. If it sticks to the pan, add a little vegetable stock or filtered water.

4. Pour 1 cup of mixture into food processor and pulse until it is a coarse puree.

5. In a large bowl, squeeze hearts of palm to break into shards.  Add puree and remaining sautéed vegetables to bowl, along with old bay seasoning, parsley, cashew cream, Dijon mustard, ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp breadcrumbs, ume plum vinegar and cayenne pepper and stir until thoroughly combined.  Taste the mixture, adjust for seasoning, and mix.

6. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Place breadcrumbs on a plate.

7. Create ¼ cup patties of the mixture and roll into breadcrumbs to coat. Transfer patties onto the lined baking sheet until they’re ready to be cooked. Makes 9 “crab” cakes.

8. You can either fry or bake these. To bake these, place the “crab” cakes on a baking sheet lined with a silpat mat or parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. At the halfway point, flip the “crab” cakes.

9. Alternatively, you can fry these. Pour 1/8 inch oil in skillet and heat oil on medium heat to 350 degrees F.

10. Fry one side of the cake at a time at about 2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Wipe out skillet and clean oil before frying remaining cakes. Line a plate with paper towels. Place the fried “crab” cakes on the paper towels to drain the oil.

11. Serve hot with aoli and a salad.

12. If you want to make festive Halloween crabs with these cakes, slice red bell peppers into strips and place 3 bell pepper “legs’ on each side. Make crab eyes by adding dots of aoli where the eyes are located.

 

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Witch’s Kombucha Brew

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Quench your thirst and lust for blood all in one with this hibiscus berry kombucha-spiked pomegranate and lemon sparkler. It’s a little sweet and sour with a nice effervescence. Depending on how large your party is, this recipe would need to be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled. Cheers, “my pretties”!

 

Witch’s Kombucha Brew

Servings: 3-4

Time: 8 hours

Diet: V, GF, DF, SF, CFNF, NF, R

 

Ingredients

Ice Hand: (optional)

Latex glove

Filtered water

 

Brew:

4 cups sparkling lemonade (Whole Foods carries it. Also Perrier.)

2 cups hibiscus berry kombucha (we used Kevita brand. You can use any red kombucha)

½ cup 100% pomegranate juice

 

Directions

Ice hand:

Fill the latex glove with filtered water, making sure there the entire glove is filled with water. Place on a plate in the freezer and freeze overnight or until completely frozen.

 

Brew:

1. In a punch bowl, add the lemonade, kombucha, and pomegranate juice. Stir well.

 

Assemble:

With dry clean hands, cut the latex glove with scissors and remove the latex from the ice hand, and carefully place it into the punch bowl.

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German Chocolate Truffle Cake

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For as long as I can remember, my mother has always been a big fan of cake.  My mother is originally from the Philippines.  There, they have meriendas, which is an afternoon snack and a time when they enjoy coffee with something sweet.  I grew up watching my mom enjoy her coffee with either a pandesol (Filipino bread roll), donut, Filipino rice cakes, and on special occasions a slice of German chocolate or Sara Lee three-layer chocolate cake.  Her favorite among them is the German chocolate cake.  So each year for her birthday, my sisters and I try to get her German chocolate cake.

I have always adored the way my mom says “chocolate” in her gentle Filipino accent, and the way she enjoys her cake makes whatever she eats look even more delicious. It’s no surprise that I inherited my love for chocolate from her.

As a tribute to my ever-supportive, hardworking, and chocolate cake-loving mother (mother of 6 daughters), I dedicate this German chocolate recipe to her.  It is not your typical German chocolate cake since this is a raw vegan truffle-cake version.  It’s smooth and decadent, but still with a nice crunch from the pecans and chewiness of the shredded coconut.

I hope she approves!

 

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I want to give Vitacost.com a huge thanks for kindly sending me ingredients that inspired this cake!  Click on the ingredient links to purchase the same ingredients I used to make the German Chocolate Truffle Cake.  Click here for Vitacost.com savings. 

 

German Chocolate Truffle Cake

Servings: 8

Time: 1 day

Diet: V, GF, DF, SF, R

 

Ingredients:

Crust:

1/2 cup raw pecans

1/2 cup soft Medjool dates, pitted

½ tsp vanilla extract, no alcohol

¼ tsp sea salt

 

Filling:

1 ½ cup raw cashews, soaked in filtered water overnight in the refrigerator.  Rinsed and drained.

1/3 cup filtered water

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp coconut nectar*

2 tsp vanilla extract

6 Tbsp unsalted almond butter

½ shredded coconut

¼ cup raw cacao powder

 

Note: *can substitute with maple syrup

 

Garnish:

shredded coconut, as needed

chopped pecans, as needed

 

Directions:

1.  Make the crust.  Place the pecans, dates, vanilla extract, and sea salt in the food processor with the blade attachment and pulse to chop until you reach your desired texture (you will want a finer crust than a chunkier one).  Test the crust by spooning out a small amount and rolling it in your hands.  If the crust mixture holds together, your crust is perfect.  If not, try to mix the mixture with your hands until it comes together.  Pour the crust mixture into a 6-7” spring-form pan (if you don’t have a spring-form pan, use a cake pan lined with plastic wrap) and press firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is relatively even throughout.

2.  If the coconut oil is solid, gently heat the oil in a small saucepan on low heat until it changes into a liquid state.

3.  Place all of the filling ingredients into the blender EXCEPT for the almond butter, shredded coconut, and cacao powder, and blend on high until very smooth (this may take a couple minutes).

4.  Divide the mixture in half by removing about 1 1/3 cup of the mixture from the blender.  Set aside.

5.  Add the cacao powder to the remaining mixture in the blender.  Blend until well combined.  Stop the blender and taste.  If you think it needs more sweetness, add about ½-1 Tbsp of coconut nectar and blend again.

6.  Pour the filling into the crust, using a silicon spatula to scrape out all of the mixture. Smoothen it out evenly with a silicon or offset spatula.  Place the pan in the freezer.  No need to wash out the blender.

7.  Add the remaining cake base to the blender and add the almond butter.  Blend well.

8.  Taste the mixture.  If you feel the filling needs a little more sweetness, add about ½-1 Tbsp of coconut nectar, and blend.

9. Pour the filling into a small bowl, add the shredded coconut, and mix well.

10.  Retrieve the pan from the freezer and pour the filling into the crust and smooth it out evenly with a silicon or offset spatula.

11. Lightly top the edges of the cake with shredded coconut and chopped pecans.

10.  Place the cake in the freezer until solid, about 4 hours or overnight.

11.  To serve, remove from the freezer 30 minutes prior to eating.  Run a smooth, sharp knife under hot water and cut into slices.  Serve when fully defrosted.  You should get 8 slices.  Serve on its own, or the way I like it, topped with chopped peanuts!  Enjoy and store leftovers in the freezer!

 

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Lentil Soup

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I was away, on the east coast, for about 2.5 weeks.  Peyman and I spent time with our niece, Roya, in New York and had an amazing vegan food adventure.  We tried new restaurants almost every day for lunch and dinner.  When we left New York, he flew to Europe for business and I went to Florida to meet my mom and sister’s family, who recently moved there.

Before my trip to the east coast, my sister and I discussed how I would consult her on cooking healthy, nutritiously and deliciously for her family.

Good thing they have a Whole Foods Market not too far away from her home.  We did some serious food shopping there for the week when I arrived.

One thing I love about cooking at home is that I’m in control of the amount of fat and salt in my food.  Eating out every day in  New York was a wonderful luxury and provided me with great research; however, it was so pricey and who knows if the cooks in the back were heavy-handed with oils and salt, if they used agave, had traces of gluten in their food, and what if the workers weren’t the most sanitary?! I’ve worked in professional kitchens– I know what can go on back there. EEeek!  I much prefer eating at home than going out all the time.  There are those days, though, when I need a break from cooking so we need to eat out to maintain my sanity.  That happens at least once a week.

While in Florida, we discovered that there is only one great Indian restaurant near my sister’s house and only one “vegan” restaurant in her city.  That “vegan” restaurant, however, was located one door down from a crematorium.  Sounds like a paradox, right?  I remember leaving the restaurant and smelling barbecue, but my mom, sister, and I noticed there weren’t any other restaurants around.  We were creeped out and don’t think we’ll go there again.  Too bad, though, because their food was good.  Just wish they had a better location where ashes weren’t floating in the air. Ewww…sorry for the visual.    

Anyway, we didn’t do much eating out while I was at my sister’s for a week and a half.

We started every day with a glowing green smoothie and I made quite a few dishes and desserts, including yellow curry, noodles with Asian peanut sauce, chocolate chai cookies, and my nutty creamy chocolate cake.  To my delight, my vegan and gluten-free recipes were a hit with the family, even the kids, and especially the vegan sweet treats!  It warms my heart to see them eat my food, smile, genuinely enjoy it and ask for seconds or thirds.

Speaking about warming the heart, it rains a lot in Florida, and usually the rain stops and the skies clear up.   One day, though, there was so much rain, thunder and lighting that my nephew and niece couldn’t attend their daily tennis academy.  I felt that a soothing, comforting and warming hearty soup was the best meal for a rainy day.  Since my sister had been asking me to make something with lentils since she picked me up from the airport, I decided to make a lentil soup.  While I was preparing it in the kitchen, my niece handed me a box of elbow pasta and said she really liked pasta.  At that moment, I decided to make my lentil soup an Italian lentil soup.  How would it be Italian? I decided to add some elbow pasta, and pasta is Italian!

It’s a super simple, hearty soup.  It’s super easy to make and soothing on a gloomy, rainy day.  I hope you enjoy it!

Here’s the recipe.

 

Italian Lentil Soup

Servings 6-8

Ingredients

1 medium onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

sea salt and cayenne pepper

4 roma tomatoes, diced

1.5 cup lentils

11 cups of low-sodium vegetable stock

4-6 fresh thyme sprigs or 1.5tsp dry thyme

1/4 tsp rosemary

1/2 tsp oregano, heaping

2 bay leaves

2/3 cup gluten-free elbow pasta or swirls (there are quinoa, corn, and rice pastas)

nutritional yeast, optional (for garnish)

Directions

1. In a large stock pot, add the onion, garlic, carrots, 1/8 tsp of sea salt and 3 shakes of cayenne pepper.  Saute for 5-8 minutes, over medium heat until tender. (You do not need oil since there is so much moisture from the veggies.  Stir occasionally, ensuring the garlic doesn’t burn and turn the soup bitter.)

2. Add tomatoes and their juices.  Simmer until juices evaporate a little and tomatoes break down, stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes.

3. Add lentils, mix to coat, then add vegetable stock and thyme. Bring to a boil over high heat.  Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes until lentils are almost tender.

4.  Stir in the pasta and simmer until the pasta is tender but still firm, about 8 minutes.

5. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and top with nutritional yeast, if you wish.

Enjoy!

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Fig Tart. Work of Art.

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My in-laws have quite a large back-, front-, side yard garden that I often refer to it as a “farm”.  I don’t know the actual square footage of the land, but I can describe it to you so you have an idea.  They have about a dozen pomegranate trees; I can’t even count how many citrus trees they have; they have peach, avocado, guava, persimmon and plum trees; berry and grape vines; they grow different kinds of tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, onion, and the list goes on…

There are so many things I love about the farm.  One of the best things is my father-in-law (Baba) uses organic methods.  They have 2 cats that roam free out there, and he is his own scare crow– if he sees a bird trying to eat his fruit, he’ll make a lot of noise, clap his hands, or speak to it in farsi and it’ll fly away.  Baba’s farm is his pride and joy.  At 83 years old, he’s out there from sun-up to sun-down, tending to his plants, watering them, talking to them, touching the leaves and getting his plump fingers smothered in dirt.  I actually can’t recall a time when I haven’t seen a leaf either in his hair or somewhere on his shirt.  The farm is his life. And I’m so happy he enjoys sharing it with his family.

When I visit them, I like to walk the grounds.  He finds me and always offers me a piece of fruit or even a fruit tree, then he encourages me to grab a basket and to pick fruit/vegetables to take home.  You know that term farm-to-table? Well, when I’m out there foraging, it’s often farm-to-mouth. There’s nothing more fun than picking mulberries and peaches, blowing off the dirt and eating them fresh off the tree! It’s really a beautiful thing!

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It’s the end of summer and I guess that means it’s fig and peach season.  My in-laws have more than half a dozen fig trees and 3 or 4 mini peach trees.  Their peaches are so delicate and delicious that I can eat whatever I take home with me.  However, figs are a different story.  They are delicious, but they are a bit too sweet for me that I can only eat so many in a day.  Last week I baked a fig torte and shared it with Peyman’s family and my sister.  I was relieved that I was almost finished with my stash of figs.  Then last weekend Baba asked if I wanted to take home more figs.  I said, “Sure, but only a handful, 10 at most, please.” He came back with a box-full.  I ate as many as I could and contemplated making preserves (which would never get eaten because we don’t eat toast and neither do my sisters and my mother-in-law makes her own jam), so I decided to make what used to be my go-to dessert, a tart.  And I remembered that my former pastry chef, Breanne Varela (now Contreras), made a beautiful fig tart when we worked at Tavern.  I thought I’d create the same design and also make a frangipane filling.

If you’ve been a follower of mine on Instagram, you will have noticed that I haven’t made a tart since becoming vegan. That’s because in addition to becoming vegan, I stopped eating gluten and I wasn’t sure how a tart shell would turn out with both a gluten-free flour and coconut oil. (Mind you, I refuse to eat vegan butter…it kind of scares me. How do oils solidify to look like butter?  It looks a bit unnatural to me.  I think coconut oil is the best oil option, if you’re active. Love those medium chain triglycerides!)  Anyway, I was a bit fearful of making a gluten-free vegan crust, but now I am so happy I did because it came out beautifully and to my surprise, I have less guilt about eating a slice. Actually, I have no guilt at all!  I love that I can make a tart with no butter, eggs or processed sugar and yet it can still taste delicious! Also, instead of using dark rum in my frangipane, I simply used coconut palm sugar and cinnamon. It seems that I can use my old, tried and true recipes and sub out ingredients with new and improved staple ingredients; it seems to be working! Hallelujah!

If you’ve been following my blog for years, you know that tarts were my specialty in my pre-vegan days.  I never posted recipes of my tarts on my blog because I’d always wanted a cookbook (and still do) and I was afraid of plagiarism. (Nah mean?) Well, I still want a cookbook but I also like to share the goodness, and so you can get a taste of what my food tastes like.  It’s like being at the grocery store and tasting a grape before buying the $10 bunch; you need to be sure it’s good before you buy it.  A sample, if you will!  Well, believe me, this tart is really good.  And, great news, I have so many other great tart recipes up my sleeve!  So stay tuned and once my cookbook or whatever I put out is ready for the market, I hope you will want a copy!

For now, here’s my first vegan and gluten-free tart recipe!

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Fig and Frangipane Tart

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Essential tool: 9 inch tart pan with removable bottom

 

Ingredients

 

18-20 figs or 1.5 – 2 pounds of figs, quartered length-wise

 

Tart Dough

1/4 cup ice cold filtered water

1 cup plus 2 tbsp oat flour (gluten-free oat flour)

1/4 tsp fine sea salt (I use Himalayan)

6 tbsp (3 oz.) coconut oil (chilled and chunked into tsp pieces. doesn’t have to be perfect)

 

Frangipane Filling

3 tbsp coconut oil

1/3 cup coconut palm sugar

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp almond meal

1 heaping tbsp arrowroot

pinch sea salt

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup almond milk

1.5 tsp vanilla extract (no alcohol)

1/2 tsp almond extract

 

Directions

Tart Dough

1. Place oat flour, salt and cold chunks of coconut oil into food processor. Pulse until coconut oil pieces are pea-sized.

2. While continuously pulsing the oat flour, pour the cold water in (make sure no ice falls in. I just place the measuring cup in the freezer to make it ice cold). Pulse until it almost comes together. (about 3-4 times)

3. Lay out about 13 inches of plastic wrap on the counter (if you don’t have this, use parchment) and pour the dough and flour pieces onto the plastic. Form the dough into a disc shape, about 6 inches in diameter and wrap the sides, leaving about an inch of space when folding. Once it’s wrapped, use a rolling pin to roll out about an inch more.  Roll the dough from the center out. Place in the refrigerator.

4. Make the tart filling. Then spray non-stick cooking spray inside, all over the sides of the tart pan. Place tart pan on a half sheet tray, lined with parchment paper or a silpat (silicone baking mat).

5. When you’re done with the tart filling, remove from the dough from the refrigerator.  If it’s too hard, you will need to wait until it is soft enough to roll out without cracking. But you don’t want it too soft that it melts.  You will have to work quickly.

6. Open the plastic wrap, leaving the plastic on the bottom of the dough and either grab another piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper to place on top of the dough (or manipulate the plastic wrap you have to help you) and roll out the the dough to about an 11-inch in diameter circle.  The crust should still be a bit cold at this point so it’s easier to handle. Bring the sheet tray near you with the sprayed tart pan, and holding the dough circle from the bottom (or wrapping the dough on top of a rolling pin with the plastic on top), quickly flip the dough into the tart pan, then carefully peel off the plastic. Push the dough into the tart pan and onto the sides.  If the dough breaks, no worries, just press it together. If one side needs more dough, take some dough from a thicker side and press it into an area that needs more dough.  Do what you have to do to get what you see below.  If it starts melting and difficult to handle, put it back in the refrigerator to harden up a bit.  Again, make your dough look like below, with no wholes.

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7. Place the tart shell back in the refrigerator or even freezer so it sets a bit. Go to tart filling, step 3.

Tart Filling

1. In a medium mixing bowl, add the coconut palm sugar, salt, cinnamon and wet ingredients: coconut oil, almond milk, vanilla and almond extracts. Stir to combine and to dissolve the salt and sugar. The sugar won’t completely dissolve and that’s fine. Add the almond meal and arrowroot and stir well to combine. Set aside.

2. Go back up to step 5 of the tart dough directions.

3. After the tart shell is set (hardened), take it out of the refrigerator, give the tart filling one or two last stirs, then fill the tart shell with the filling, spreading it evenly to cover the bottom of the tart crust.  Place back in the refrigerator and cut up the figs in the meantime. Cut them length-wise, first in half, then cut the halves in half to get quarters.

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Assembling the the figs in the tart

Once the frangipane has been in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes, place the figs, pointy (stem) side up, round side down, pink side exposed, starting from the outside of the circle, just onto the frangipane, along the crust. The frangipane should hold it in place (but don’t push it through and into the frangipane. Just lay it gently in place). Let the figs touch shoulder to shoulder. For the second layer inward, stagger and repeat. Repeat the hird layer and so on until you get to the center.

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Once you’ve made your fig flower, take a photo because it’ll look awesome raw! Then place the sheet tray with the tart shell on it in the center of the preheated 350 degree F oven for about 45-50 minutes or until the crust gets golden-ish, or like my photos. Since there isn’t butter or cream in the crust, you won’t achieve a true golden color.

It may bubble over a smidge, and when you take it out of the oven, it will look wet.  Be careful not to spill the liquid. Don’t be alarmed. It will set once it cools. Once it is almost cool, carefully remove the tart shell tart pan touching the sides/crust, leaving only the base intact.  (Bottom/base of the tart pan will be intact until you serve the last piece.)  Using 2 spatulas, I placed the tart on a cake stand. You can just put it on a flat large plate to save space and to avoid accidents, if you’d like. Carefully place the tart in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving. After 3 hours, the liquid will be set.

I had this with coconut whip for the first time and it was delish! But I also had it without the coconut whip and it was still luxurious.  Peyman has his hang ups with figs so I had to trick him into tasting a piece.  He said it was, “mmm…Good!”

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I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!  Please let me know how yours turns out!

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