November 30, 2011

Soy Nog Chai Scones

Now that December is practically here, I'm ready to start sharing some holiday recipes on the blog! As a lover of Starbucks holiday drinks, I usually focus on the following flavours when I think of holiday baking: eggnog, chai, gingerbread and peppermint.

These scones were my first holiday baking experiment incorporating two of those flavours: eggnog and chai. But instead of real eggnog, I wanted to try using my latest obsession: So Nice Noel Nog.  I actually like soy nog better than the real thing - even though it's not as thick and creamy, I love the taste! I've been drinking it on its own and adding it to my coffee, so I was excited to try baking with it too!

The inspiration for these scones comes from Mama Pea's vegan Vanilla Bean Mini-Scones. To get the holiday flavour I wanted, I used my noel nog for the milk, and added the contents of a chai tea bag, along with some cinnamon and nutmeg for more spice. I also used coconut oil instead of margarine (because that's all I had), and subbed vanilla extract for the vanilla bean.

The flavour of these scones was amazing! The eggnog taste definitely came through, and I loved the accent of the chai tea. As you can see, they weren't quite as fluffy as I wanted, but I may have rolled the dough too thin when I cut them, and I also overbaked them a tad! Despite my mistakes, I still loved them!

I also made a simple glaze by combining icing sugar with noel nog and cinnamon, and drizzled it over top of the scones afterwards to add some more sweetness. I liked them with the glaze as a treat, but feel free to leave it out for a more wholesome breakfast!

Soy Nog Chai Scones
Adapted from Peas and Thank You

1 cup whole grain spelt flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 chai tea bags
1/2 cup coconut oil (or butter or vegan margarine)
1/2 cup soy nog
1/3 cup cane sugar (or other sugar)
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and the contents of two chai tea bags.  Add the coconut oil to the dry ingredients and mix in with a fork or pastry cutter until the dough is crumbly.

In a separate bowl, combine the soy nog, sugar and vanilla. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined (do not overmix).

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into two equal portions. Pat or roll each portion into a flat circle, about 1.5 inches thick. Cut each circle with a knife into six equal wedges (like a pie).

Place wedges on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until scones have started to brown and firm up (*Note: the instructions in the original recipe called for a baking time of 13-15 minutes for mini scones but since mine were larger, I increased the baking time to 15-17 minutes).

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Once cool, drizzle with eggnog glaze if desired (recipe below).

Eggnog Glaze
1 cup icing sugar
3 tbsp soy nog
dash of cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth. Add more icing sugar or milk to adjust the consistency if necessary.

November 27, 2011

Pineapple Kale Salad with Black Beans and Avocado

In my last post for an African Pineapple Peanut Stew with Black Beans and Kale, I promised I would give you another recipe featuring many of the same ingredients in salad form, so here it is!

I started with a recipe I had bookmarked for avocado salad with a spicy peanut dressing and since I had leftover black beans, kale and pineapple from my last recipe, I added them all to the mix too.  And instead of peanut butter, this dressing uses crushed up peanuts mixed with various spices.

I really liked this combination of fresh ingredients. I've always thought pineapple and avocados are meant for each other, and the black beans and lime juice went perfectly with them! This was also the first time I've tried shredding my kale and I thought it was a bit more manageable to eat this way.

This salad was a nice refreshing change from the heartier cold-weather soups and stews I've been eating lately, and it made a good lunch the next day too!  I didn't try this, but I bet the leftovers would also make a great filling for a wrap!

Pineapple Kale Salad with Black Beans and Avocado
Inspired by my African Pineapple Peanut Stew with Black Beans, also adapted from Girl Cooks World

4 cups chopped kale leaves
2 cups diced fresh pineapple
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 jalapeno, minced
2-3 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 avocados, diced
Juice of one lime
2 tbsp olive oil
4-5 tbsp peanuts
3/4 tsp smoked paprika
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp cayenne
3/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp sugar

Shred the kale into thin strips using a knife. Combine the shredded kale with the diced pineapple, black beans, jalapeno and cilantro in a large bowl. Add the avocado, lime juice and olive oil and gently toss to combine.

Grind 3 tbsp of the peanuts until they are finely ground. Mix with the paprika, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and sugar.

Add the peanut-spice mixture to the salad and toss again until thoroughly mixed.

Garnish salad with remaining peanuts. Season with more salt and pepper if desired and serve with additional lime wedges.

Makes 4 servings (I only made half the recipe for 2 servings)

This is my submission to this week's Wellness Weekend at Diet, Dessert & Dogs

November 24, 2011

African Pineapple Peanut Stew with Black Beans

Before I get to today's recipe, I just wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating it across the border! If you're still looking for some recipe ideas, be sure to check out my round up of vegan Thanksgiving recipes that I posted last month for our Canadian Thanksgiving.

Back to this of my favourite recipes that I've made multiple times is the African Pineapple Peanut Stew from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home cookbook. I make it whenever I have a pineapple to use up,  since I think its much better with fresh rather than canned pineapple. I've also tried it with various greens, including spinach and swiss chard, but I like the kale version best!

The recipe for this stew has been around on the blogosphere for many years already, so its not exactly a new recipe. But to change things up a bit this time, I tried adding black beans, which I thought would go well with the pineapple and peanut butter. The black beans helped to bulk up the meal a bit more, and the flavours went really well together!

I like to serve this on top of rice, but you could also eat it on its own or with some flatbread. Feel free to add some more liquid if you prefer a soupier stew, and don't leave out the peanuts, they're my favourite part!

Stay tuned for another recipe featuring the same flavours in salad form - I'll be posting it soon!

African Pineapple Peanut Stew with Black Beans
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home: Fast and Easy Recipes for Any Day, as seen on The Way the Cookie Crumbles

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
pinch of salt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2.5 cups chopped fresh pineapple
1 bunch of kale, coarsely chopped and stems removed
1 can (about 2 cups) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tbsp hot sauce
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
Cooked rice for serving

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is browned.  Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 more seconds.

Add the pineapple, black beans and kale to the pot. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove lid and stir in the peanut butter and hot sauce. Simmer for about 5 more minutes.

Serve over hot rice and garnish with the cilantro and peanuts.

Makes 4-5 servings.

November 21, 2011

Mango Curry Hummus

I love making my own hummus because it's so easy and it's fun to come up with different flavour combinations ....I don't think I've ever made a traditional plain hummus!

So far, the only hummus recipe I've posted on my blog is a dessert hummus (this pumpkin spice latte hummus that I made at Halloween), but now I have a savory version to add!

I've had my eye on this Indian Curry Hummus from The Wannabe Chef for awhile, but I wanted to change it up a bit by incorporating mango. To get the flavour I wanted, I added some dried mango powder (called amchur, which you can get from Indian markets) and some mango chutney. The result was the perfect mix of sweet, sour and spicy!

This is a great snack to eat with raw veggies or pita chips. I didn't have any naan bread when I made it, but I bet it would taste great spread on some toasted naan too!

Mango Curry Hummus
Adapted from The Wannabe Chef

1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp lemon juice
1.5 tbsp mango chutney
2 small cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp amchur (mango powder)
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 tbsp olive oil

Place the chickpeas in a food processor. Add remaining ingredients except for the olive oil. Turn on the food processor and while its running, slowly add in the olive oil through the feed tube. Continue to process until hummus is completely smooth.

Taste and add more seasoning if desired.

Makes about 1 cup (this was a good amount just for me, but if you will be feeding more people, you'll probably want to double the recipe).

November 17, 2011

Tofu Salad with Apples

As you may have noticed from the less frequent posts on here recently, I feel like I've hardly spent any time in the kitchen the last two and a half weeks.  Instead, I've been busy with a conference followed by a 10-day workshop, which meant that the majority of my meals were eaten out at restaurants...And while I enjoy being treated to meals that are prepared by others, I'm looking forward to getting back into the kitchen starting this weekend and trying out some new recipes!

In the meantime, here is a quick and easy recipe that I like to throw together for lunches whenever I have some leftover tofu. I've never liked egg salad, but when I tried making a similar dish using tofu, I loved it! You basically just crumble up your tofu and mix it with a creamy yellow dressing, and you end up with something that looks like scrambled eggs, but it is eaten cold.

The first time I made tofu salad for myself, I decided to add in some finely chopped apples, and I've been making it that way ever since! Other recipes call for celery to provide some crunch, but I'm not a big fan of celery, so I prefer the apples. Plus I think they go really well with the mustard dressing.

So the next time you have some leftover tofu, this would be a tasty way to use it up! It's also easy to make the night before so you can bring it for lunch the next day.  You can eat the salad on its own, but I like to stuff it into a pita or make a sandwich with it.

Tofu Salad with Apples

1/4 lb firm tofu
1/2 tbsp mayonnaise or Vegenaise
1/2 tbsp mustard
1/8 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper
1/2 an apple
lemon juice

Core the apple and chop into very small pieces. Drizzle some lemon juice over the apple pieces to prevent them from browning.

Crumble the tofu into a bowl. Add the mayonnaise or Vegenaise, mustard, turmeric, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly with a fork to coat all of the tofu. (If it looks too dry, you might to add a bit more mayo and mustard).  Mix in the apple pieces.

Store in the fridge. Add to a sandwich or pita if desired.

Makes 1 serving.

November 14, 2011

Indian Butternut Squash, Coconut & Split Pea Stew

In my last post, I mentioned a couple of Food Network chefs that I like.  Last time, I featured a recipe from Bal Arneson, and today I have a recipe from Aarti Sequeira.

I found the recipe for Aarti's "Indian Summer Stew" on Janet's blog, and after reading her description of it, I had to try it for myself!  I already knew that I loved all the ingredients that the recipe called for (butternut squash, coconut, yellow split peas, cilantro and Indian spices), so I was pretty sure that combining all of those ingredients would make an amazing stew!

Once I tasted it, I was so glad I gave it a chance! The recipe might look a bit intimidating with the number of ingredients required, but it was easier than I thought to put together....Plus it makes a lot of stew, so you can enjoy the leftovers for a while!

This is one of those dishes that makes me appreciate home-cooked meals so much! All it takes is the right ingredients and a bit of time, and you can have a healthy and delicious meal full of flavour and texture that you really enjoy eating!

I actually wasn't planning on posting this recipe initially, since it's not my own creation, but I liked it so much that I decided I had to share it on my blog!

Indian Butternut Squash, Coconut & Split Pea Stew

Instead of posting the recipe again here, I will direct you to the sources where I got it from:

Recipe from The Food Network
As seen on the taste space

My Tips:
- I pre-soaked the split peas to help them soften up a bit before cooking.
- I followed Janet's tip to use large flake coconut instead of the shredded coconut in the original recipe (although I might reduce the amount slightly next time - *Update: I recommend using ~1/3 cup large flake coconut).
- I also used 1 regular tomato instead of a Roma tomato.
- You can use either honey or agave for the sweetener, depending on whether you want the stew to be completely vegan or not.
- Update: I made this again recently and added one diced yellow onion, which worked well in the recipe. Just saute the onion for a few minutes in a bit of oil before adding everything else. I also reduced the oil when cooking the spices to 1 tbsp

Makes 4-5 servings.

November 10, 2011

Sweet Potato Patties

As promised in my last post, I have another delicious sweet potato recipe for you today!

I usually don't make recipes that I see on the Food Network channel on tv, but the few that I've tried from their website have turned out really well. In particular, I like a lot of the recipes by two of the Food Network's Indian chefs - Aarti Sequeira and Bal Arneson.

These sweet potato patties are courtesy of the "Spice Goddess" Bal Arneson, and I would definitely say that this is another success from the Food Network!

I followed the recipe pretty closely, other than changing some of the spices. The patties were soft but held together well, and I really liked the balance of flavours from the sweet potato with the Indian spices. I served them with mango chutney as the original recipe suggested, and I thought it went really well with the patties. You could also eat them plain or with another type of chutney, or top them with yogurt.

These also save well in the freezer, so you can make a batch and then store them to keep on hand for a quick dinner anytime!

Sweet Potato Patties
Adapted from Bal Arneson

2 cups cooked mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup chickpea flour
2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp cayenne or chili flakes
pinch of salt and pepper
2 tbsp plain yogurt
1 tbsp canola oil
prepared mango chutney for serving

Place the mashed sweet potatoes in a bowl (I used 3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and boiled for about 10 minutes). Add the chickpea flour, cumin, ginger, garlic, cilantro, cayenne, salt and pepper and yogurt. Mix well. Form the dough into small patties with your hands, pressing to make sure they are firmly held together.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the patties to the pan (you may need to cook them in batches if they don't all fit). Fry for about 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook another 2-3 minutes on the other side. Remove from pan and cook the remaining patties.

Serve with mango chutney.

Makes 8 small patties.

November 07, 2011

Sweet Potato, Coconut & Ginger Muffins

I seem to have developed a bit of an obsession with sweet potatoes this Fall. So far I've enjoyed them in an appetizer, soup, salad, bread, and dessert, not to mention the many times I've just eaten them mashed and spread on toast (mmm!)  And I'm still not done with sweet potato recipes yet!

One of the new ways I've used sweet potatoes this Fall was in these muffins, which I adapted from a recipe for Sweet Potato Cranberry Coconut Muffins.

This was a hearty muffin full of Fall flavours. The sweet potato gave them a nice orange colour, and I liked the crunch of walnuts throughout and the coconut sprinkled on top. I also added some fresh ginger to give them a spicy kick. I thought the ginger taste was pretty strong (which I liked), but feel free to reduce the amount of ginger for a less spicy muffin.

These are a fairly healthy, low-fat breakfast or snack, perfect for the cooler weather!  And stay tuned for another dinner recipe using sweet potatoes soon!

Sweet Potato, Coconut & Ginger Muffins
Adapted from fANNEtastic food

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup mashed cooked sweet potato
2 tbsp greek yogurt (plain or vanilla flavour; or substitute soy yogurt for a vegan option)
2 tbsp applesauce
1/4 cup coconut milk beverage (from the carton)
1 tbsp ground flax
1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
additional shredded coconut for topping

Preheat oven to 350° and prepare a muffin pan by spraying with cooking spray or inserting paper liners.

Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl (flour through to baking soda).

Mix the wet ingredients (sweet potato through to ginger) in a separate bowl until completely smooth.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently stir until the dry ingredients are just incorporated. Fold in the chopped walnuts.

Pour batter into prepared muffin tin, filling the cups about 3/4 full. Sprinkle additional coconut on top of muffins, pressing gently to make sure it sticks.

Bake for 23-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 6 muffins (the recipe can easily be doubled to make 12 muffins).

November 04, 2011

Thai Red Curry Noodles with Tofu

I apologize for the lack of posts this week, but I was away at a conference in Toronto, which kept me very busy!  After a week of eating out and being away from my kitchen, I always appreciate coming back to homemade meals. This is one of the meals I made before I left and stocked the leftovers in my freezer so that I didn't have to come home to an empty fridge!

I made this dish after seeing a recipe for Khai Soi on Cate's World Kitchen, and even though I had never heard of it, I thought the combination of thai red curry paste with coconut milk, noodles and tofu sounded so good! I had also bookmarked a similar recipe for Curry Noodle Soup from Soup Chick, so I combined the two recipes to create my own version.

Once I tried it, I was happy I had leftovers since it was so flavourful!  I loved slurping up the thick rice noodles with the spicy broth, and the bean sprouts provided some crisp texture. The coconut milk made it richer than I expected, and the lime juice really helped to brighten the whole dish up. The addition of the tofu made this a complete meal, but you could also substitute chicken for a non-vegetarian version.

I did find it to be quite spicy, so you may want to reduce the amount of curry paste or ginger if you prefer less spicy dishes. You could also try adding some red pepper or another vegetable, but the simple combination of noodles, broth and tofu is definitely good enough on its own!

Thai Red Curry Noodles with Tofu
Adapted from Cate's World Kitchen and Soup Chick

1 package firm tofu (8 oz)
8 oz dry rice noodles
1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup Thai red curry paste
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 small onion, peeled and diced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 can light coconut milk
1/2 tsp palm sugar (or another type of sugar)
1 tsp soy sauce
2 cups vegetable broth
Bean sprouts
Fresh cilantro
Limes for serving

Drain the water from tofu and press it under a heavy book for about half an hour to get rid of the remaining moisture, then cut into cubes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the rice noodles according to package directions (I boiled mine for 3 minutes). Drain, rinse, and set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in another large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the red curry paste and sauté until fragrant, stirring constantly (1-2 minutes). Stir in the curry powder and turmeric.

Add the onion and ginger to the pan, along with the tofu pieces. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, stirring to coat the tofu.

Pour the coconut milk into the pot and bring to a boil. Add the palm sugar and soy sauce and stir to mix. Add the vegetable broth and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, for about 5 more minutes.

To serve, place the rice noodles in the bottom of each bowl. Ladle the soup mixture with the tofu over top of the noodles. Garnish each serving with a handful of bean sprouts and chopped cilantro. Serve with a slice of lime to squeeze over the soup.

Makes 4 servings.

Note: You can store the leftovers in the refrigerator, but the noodles might soak up some of the broth. If this happens, just add a bit of water before re-heating.


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