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Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving’

Wicked Vegan PB Cheesecake 1

As I mentioned yesterday, 2015 has not been a big year for Wicked Vegan. I moved to a new apartment in 2014 and there isn’t a ton of space or natural lighting which makes it hard to set up for photographs. Also, my poor lap top is on it’s last leg. I love it to death and it’s been around the world with me but, bless it’s heart, even after wiping the whole thing clean, it took about two hours to do (minimal) editing on those pictures for yesterday’s post. All this does not lend itself to a productive food blog.

Since I haven’t been able to add much to Wicked Vegan, I haven’t been on it too much this year. So I was shocked to discover yesterday while poking around that I had a TON of hits back in October. One day I had over 100 hits and I didn’t even post anything. What the heck?? So I went exploring and discovered that Wicked Vegan was featured in an article on MSN back in October called “50 Vegetarian Recipes That Taste Like There’s Meat“. What?!? That’s so cool! Of course, then I found my article AND ALMOST DIED OF EMBARRASSMENT. Ready for the picture that was shown? Ready? Cause it’s a doozy…

WV CB

*Groans* It’s bad. So bad. I know I’m not the worlds best food photographer but I’m working on improvement! My 12 days of Christmas cookies weren’t that bad. Some of them were pretty darn cute!! Look at those props in my blueberry lemon cookies:

wickedvegan-blueberry-lemon-thumbprint-8

Ok, but photo quality aside, very cool to be featured in an MSN article!

So, sticking with my procrastination policy, it’s the day before Thanksgiving and I’m giving you a new recipe. This may be one of my all time favorite vegan discoveries, though, so I could NOT resist sharing with you. Vegan Cheesecake! More specifically, Peanut Butter Cup Vegan Cheesecake!! Be still my heart.

Wicked Vegan PB Cheesecake 3

No Bake Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

Ingredients
CRUST
  • 10 ounces crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (such as oreas, which are vegan, surprisingly)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil (or sub melted vegan butter)
FILLING
  • 1.5 cups raw cashews, soaked in water 4-6 hours then drained
  • 1 lemon, juiced (scant 1/4 cup)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp full fat coconut milk, such as Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk in a can (see instructions for note)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or agave nectar (or honey if not vegan)
  • 1/3 cup salted natural peanut butter (I used Teddy’s Smooth)
CHOCOLAGE GANACHE SWIRL
  • 3/4 cup semisweet dairy-free chocolate chips (such as EnjoyLife)
  • 3 Tbsp full fat coconut milk, warmed to a simmer
TOPPINGS
  • 18 mini dark chocolate PB Cups (vegan-friendly), chopped (I used Justin’s pb cups)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blitz cookies in a food processor until a fine meal remains. Add 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil (or vegan butter) and pulse once more.
  2. Cut 12 small strips of parchment paper (or use paper liners) and place them in a standard, 12-slot muffin tin. One at a time, hold down a strip in the center of the tin, add 1 generous spoonful of crust mixture, then use a small cup or your spoon to pack it down as evenly as possible. I like using a small glass because it packs it in really tight and gets the top flat. Continue until all tins are filled and no crust remains. (WICKED VEGAN NOTE: This technique takes a significant amount of time. I made it through 6 before getting annoyed. Cupcake liners work just as well and are a heck of a lot easier.)
  3. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove and set aside to cool.
  4. MINIMALIST BAKER NOTE: For the coconut milk, I like to scoop the “cream” off the top because it provides a richer texture. But if yours is already all mixed together, just add it in as is. WICKED VEGAN NOTE: I was unclear whether MB scooped the cream off and used just the cream for this recipe or whether she scooped off the cream, set it aside and just used the liquid. I didn’t think using just the cream would provide enough liquid since my blender is pretty standard. So for this recipe, I scooped the cream off the top and reserved it for later and just used the liquid that was left in the can. It came out delicious. Feel free to do whichever way you prefer.
  5. Add drained cashews, lemon juice, coconut oil, coconut milk, maple syrup and peanut butter to a blender and process until very smooth and creamy – about 3-4 minutes – scraping down sides as needed. You need to make sure you get it really smooth with no small pieces or you’ll taste them in the final result. If your mixture is too thick, add a bit more coconut milk or oil to get it going. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  6. Pour evenly into muffin tins on top of crust and gently tap on counter to remove air bubbles.
  7. Prepare ganache by bringing 3 Tbsp coconut milk (again, I just used the liquid from the can like I did above because I had some leftover) to a simmer in the microwave (30 seconds) or on the stove top in a small saucepan. Place the chocolate chips in a small mixing bowl and pour the coconut milk on top. DON’T touch for 3 minutes so it has a chance to warm the chips. Then stir gently until smooth. Microwave or set over a double boiler briefly if the chips didn’t fully melt.
  8. Spoon 1/2 Tbsp amounts of ganache over the cheesecakes and swirl with a toothpick or knife.
  9. Sprinkle 3/4 of the peanut butter cups on top of the cheesecakes and press down slightly.
  10. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze until firm – at least 3 hours.
  11. To serve, remove from freezer and let sit for about 5-10 minutes before trying to remove from the pan. This applies to the strip method mentioned above as well as simply using cupcake liners.
  12. Top with any remaining ganache (reheated), chopped peanut butter cups and/or coconut whipped cream (WV NOTE: which you can make from the coconut cream if you reserved it from the can.)
 This is another recipe I tested on non-vegan/vegetarian eaters and got thumbs up all around. I do have to stress that you want to blend the heck out of those cashews, though. I’ve tried using cashews in creamy recipes like ice cream before and didn’t get the hype. For this recipe, I left my blender on for a solid 4-5 minutes since it isn’t a fancy one is was amazed how smooth it got the mixture.
These would be perfect to whip up tonight and bring to Thanksgiving tomorrow. Keep them in the freezer and take out about 5 minutes before dessert time if you want a cold treat or take them out 10-15 minutes before dessert time if you want them soft. I prefer them more on the frozen/cold side.
Wicked Vegan PB cheesecake 2
What is your favorite Thanksgiving dessert? Honestly, I’m not a big pie fan so Thanksgiving isn’t my favorite holiday for desserts. Christmas cookies are much more up my alley! I’m toying with the idea of doing the 12 Days of Christmas cookies again. What do you think??

 

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Wicked Vegan Lentil Loaf 7

Aww. My poor, neglected blog! 2015 has not been a blog productive year for me. No matter what is going on in my life though, when there is a holiday around the corner, I feel the pull of Wicked Vegan. I love sharing seasonal vegan recipes around the holidays. It makes me feel festive and creative.

I am currently at my parent’s house for the week to help out for Thanksgiving. I am so spoiled having the house to myself all day long. I was able to spread my laundry out all over the laundry room and divide them as a I like instead of throwing everything in one load so I don’t have to pay more then I have to. I’ve been working on much neglected crafts, some for Christmas, some for me. And I’ve been able to rock out to the Taking Back Sunday pandora station on full blast, belting out embarrassing songs from my high school years while cooking in a kitchen that is MUCH larger then mine without annoying a single soul. It is FANTASTIC.

One of those dishes being cooked while dancing around to New Found Glory is this puff pastry wrapped Lentil Loaf. My parents have realized having me around all day is advantageous because I can make them dinner! So I made this one night thinking it would also be a perfect main dish for Thanksgiving. It’s hearty, really pretty and as my meat eating parents stated, “doesn’t have anything weird in it”. lol! It true that I have a bit of a different palette from them but I think this is a dish that could be passed off to most people without raising any eyebrows. I mean, as much as I love Tofurkey, especially for Thanksgiving sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving, there ain’t no way I’m going to be able to pass that off to my relatives!

Wicked Vegan Lentil Loaf Collage

PUFF PASTRY WRAPPED LENTIL LOAF
Prep time:  50 mins
Cook time:  40 mins
Total time:  1 hour 30 mins
Serves: Makes two loaves, serves 8
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 Sheets of Puff Pastry, Thawed (Check to make sure they are vegan, most brands are)
  • 1 Cup uncooked Lentils (I used green but red or brown can also be used)
  • 2 1/2 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • ½ Cup Pecans
  • ½ Cup Walnuts
  • 3 Tablespoons Ground Flax
  • 1/3 Cup Warm Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 2 Stalks of Celery
  • 2 Medium Carrots
  • 1- 8 oz. Tub (around 3 1/2 cups) of Mushrooms (I used Baby Bellas)
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic
  • ½ teaspoons Salt (or more to taste)
  • Several Grinds of Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon Cayenne
  • ¾ Cup Rolled Oats
  • ½ Cup Flour
  • Couple Tablespoons of Non-Dairy Milk to brush on the pastry (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 400F (200C).
  2. Rinse the lentils, then add the rinsed lentils to a pot with the vegetable broth, cover, and bring to a simmer and cook for about 35 to 40 minutes until liquid is absorbed and lentils are soft, even mushy.
  3. Take an immersion blender or potato masher and mash the lentils until about two thirds of the lentils are mush.
  4. In the meantime, chop the nuts and put them in a dry pan over medium heat. Toast them, keeping an eye on them for about 10 minutes until they are all toasty and fragrant. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  5. In a small bowl mix together the flax and warm water and set aside to thicken.
  6. Chop up the onions, celery, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic.
  7. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat, then sauté the onions, carrots and celery until they begin to soften up, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté another 5 minutes until the mushrooms have shrunken and become juicy. Add in the garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and cayenne and sauté about 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
  8. In a large bowl, mix everything together- the lentils, toasted nuts, veggies, flax mixture, the oats and the flour. *Up to this point, you can do everything a head of time. I made the lentil mixture 4 days before using and did not have any problems with it. Just cover it really well and pop it into your fridge until you are ready to use it. If you were doing this for Thanksgiving, I would make the mixture  and put the puff pastry in the fridge the night before. The next morning, you just have to do the below steps and it will come together nice and quickly*
  9. On a lightly floured surface roll out one of the puff pastry sheets until you get a rectangle that is about 10 inches by 14 inches. Transfer the pastry sheet to parchment paper. At this point you have two options:
    1. Just roll up your lentil loaf in the puff pastry.  Take half of the lentil mixture and form a loaf shape down the middle of the puff pastry, leaving a bit of room at both ends. Use your hands to pat the mixture into a firm log. Wrap up the loaf any way you see fit.
    2. Go for the WOW factory with the weave texture shown in the picture. Use the back of a knife to make a guide dividing the pastry into three even sections. Then cut angled strips down each side about 1 inch wide. Cut off the top two and bottom two strips so that you have two end flaps. Place half of the lentil mixture down the centre of the dough and using your hands, pat into a firm loaf shape. Now fold up the top flap over the end, then take the top right strip and fold over the loaf. Take the top left strip, and fold that over, making an x. Do this all the way down the crossing alternative strips. Try to keep the strips close together leaving only small gaps. Once you get near the bottom, fold the bottom flap up, then finish braiding the last strips tucking the ends into anywhere they look good. (see the above picture for a visual).
  10. Repeat with the remaining pastry and lentil mixture so you have two loaves.
  11. Optional: Brush the top with non-dairy milk and move to a baking sheet. I did not do this and I thought my puff pastry still came out nicely.
  12. Bake for about 40 – 45 minutes checking every now and then until it’s all golden brown and gorgeous. Serve with gravy, BBQ sauce, ketchup or cranberry sauce.

Lentil Loaf 6

This recipe reheats nicely as well. I will usually pop it back in the oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 and let it reheat. The pastry stays flaky and doesn’t get soggy.

What are you making for the Thanksgiving holiday? What are you most looking forward to? I can’t wait to get my hands on some stuff and some green bean casserole!!

If you are in need of some inspiration, check out last year’s Thanksgiving Round Up . I have a green bean casserole recipe on there from a few years back that was so good I was eating it out of the pan.

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Wicked Vegan- Stuffed Accorn Squash1

ahh, Thanksgiving. Probably one of the hardest holidays for those with dietary restrictions. Raise your hand if you have been taunted with greasy turkey legs, been asked a million questions about your diet (“But where do you get your protein? Don’t you miss meat? What would happen if you had one bite? Wouldn’t it be funny if I hid meat in your vegetables?!”) and generally felt left out over this holiday. There was definitely one Thanksgiving when I was a vegetarian when my options were mashed potato, rolls and a garden salad. All good things but not super festive, you know? So I feel ya’. I’ve compiled some yummy tidbits from the blog that I think you could bring to your Thanksgiving dinner and not get crap over (“Is this some sort of healthy, vegan food??”). All the below recipes have been tested on meat eaters and received thumbs up.

Actually, that’s a lie…I never tested the Vegan Green Bean Casserole out on my family because I hoarded it all to myself. True story.

bbqpolentabites

BBQ Polenta Bites

Three Pepper Hummus

Buffalo Hummus

Blueberry Salsa

Black Bean Salsa

Hot Pretzel Challah Bread

pumpkinburger

Southwestern Pumpkin Burger

Butternut Squash Apple Soup

Black Bean Quinoa Soup

Green Bean Casserole

Garlicky Brussel Sprouts

Wicked Vegan PB Krispie Treats

Peanut Butter Krispie Treats (these would be so cute with little turkey cookie cutters and sprinkles)

Chai Spiced Cookies

Now, you can probably see there aren’t a lot of main dishes up there. The past few years I’ve eaten Tofurkey but I just wasn’t feeling it this year. Those Tofurkey loaves are a lot for one person! I end up having leftovers for ever. So this year I am trying a stuffed acorn squash. I was SO impressed and happy with the way it came out. I made this recipe while at my parents this weekend and my mom, a meat eater, got to sample everything and was equally impressed.

IMG_1300

Apple, Quinoa and Kale Stuffed Acorn Squash with Tahini Maple Dressing
from Edible Perspective, with mild adaptations
yields 4 main dish servings

for the dressing:

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled + smashed
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 2-3 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • salt + pepper to taste

for the squash and apples:

  • 3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 medium acorn squash
  • 2 crispy apples (I used honeycrisps)
  • salt + pepper

for the kale and quinoa:

  • 3-4 teaspoons unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups water
  • 5-6 cups chopped kale (lacinato/dino was recommended but seriously, I can never find it. Curly green kales works just fine)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 – 5 TBSP dried cranberries
  • pecans for garnish

for the dressing: Combine the smashed garlic, lemon juice, and oil in a jar.  Seal and shake vigorously.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Shake once more then remove the garlic.  Add tahini, maple syrup, lemon zest, and a big pinch of salt and pepper.  Seal and shake until smooth.  Taste and adjust salt/pepper/maple syrup if needed.  Set aside.  Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 1 week.

for the squash and apples: Preheat your oven to 400* F.  In a small pan combine the coconut oil, maple syrup, and cayenne over medium-low heat and stir until melted.  Take off the heat.  Slice 2 acorn squashes in half, remove and toss the seedy middle and coat the flesh with the oil/maple mixture.  Place squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for about 35-40 minutes until tender.  A few minutes later slice the apples into 1/4-inch thick slices, removing any seeds/core.  Place on a baking sheet and toss to coat with remaining oil/maple mixture.  Place in the oven during the last 7-10 minutes of squash roasting.  Roast for 7 minutes to maintain a nice crunch.

for the kale and quinoa: As soon as the squash is in the oven heat a pot over medium with 2 teaspoons of coconut oil.  Once hot add the quinoa and stir for 2-3 minutes.  Add the water then raise heat to medium-high.  Bring to a boil, stir, then reduce heat to simmer and cover for 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat and keep covered.  After placing your apples in the oven to roast place a large pan over medium heat and melt 1-2 teaspoons of coconut oil.  Once hot, add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds, then add the kale and stir frequently for about 3-5 minutes until wilted.  Fluff the quinoa with a fork and combine in the pan with the kale.  Sprinkle with a good amount of salt and pepper and add the lemon juice and craisins.  Stir to combine. Once the the squash and apples are complete, dice the apples and combine with the quinoa and kale.

to assemble: Place the roasted squash half on a plate and fill with the quinoa mix. Drizzle with the tahini dressing and sprinkle with pecans.

*NOTE* If you are making this for Thanksgiving, you can make the dressing and quinoa/kale mixture ahead of time (including the apples) and save the acorn squash for the day of. You can microwave the filling after  you pull out the squash. It will save some time and dishes when there is a ton going on in the kitchen. You can also cook and stuff the acorn squash the night before (do not put dressing on) and reheat the next day on 350 for about 40 minutes uncovered (covering may speed the cooking time). Just a few things to keep in mind when prepping for Thanksgiving.

—– other serving option —–

for a salad- style dish: visit Edible Perspectives page and check out how she presents this as a salad dish. This option would be great if you want to make this dish for a large group of people or want to serve it as a side-dish.

Wicked Vegan- Stuffed Acorn Squash3

This recipe is so yummy! I love love love the dressing and will most likely be using this as my go to dressing going forward. Also, I am a huge fan of the roasted apples and craisins mixed in. It gives it such a nice sweetness. Plus, it just looks so pretty when plated up!

If you are wondering what I served with it in the picture above, that is the stuffing I will be sharing with you tomorrow. Trust me when I say you are going to want to tune it. It has this challah pretzel bread in it!

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This weekend was CRAZY! I had three whole days off and I feel like I was kept busy for every second of it.

Highlights: Staying in bed late on Saturday morning, cooking marathon Saturday evening, waking up to find a guy sleeping on my couch on Sunday and then having him take and post pictures of me on instagram as I took photographs for WV (Hey Rob! Hope you didn’t think  I was too weird standing on chairs…), Hanging with Whitney, Seeing Taking Back Sunday in Maine and having them sing the Ballad of Sal Villanueva (I screamed so loud when I realized they were playing this…), eating at Silly’s in Maine, AND I started some christmas presents.

Whew! How was your weekend??

cashew cream!

Now, to focus on Thanksgiving which is two days away! Oi with the poodles…

So, to stay vegan during Thanksgiving, I have found the best thing to do is be prepared! Be prepared, be prepared, be prepared. I can’t say it enough. Last year (and this year too), my mom was super helpful in working out things I can and can’t eat but it’s because we knew what everyone was bringing so we could work around it. Last year, I had a tofurkey and a bunch of veggies. I also made an appetizer (this salsa…so good!) and a dessert (these cookies) and got my mom to make this casserole, which we are making again this year because everyone loved it (sub Earth Balance for butter and leave out marshmallows to make vegan). By planning ahead and strategically contributing to the spread, I was able to make sure that I had at least one thing to eat per course and that was super helpful in allowing me to avoid things.

So, when prepping this year I wanted to tackle some classic staples that may be favorites for you. First up, green bean casserole. I LOVE green bean casserole! Though it’s a classic, I only started really loving it recently so I was pretty bummed when I couldn’t have it last year. Thus, it was the first thing on my list of things to make this year.

Green Bean Casserole
casserole from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
toppings from How Sweet Eats

Beans

  • 1 1/2 pounds of fresh green beans, ends removed and cut in half
  • 1 TBSP salt

Sauce

  • 10 oz of mushrooms (I bought the pre-washed, pre-sliced variety. Save time on Thanksgiving day!)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • fresh pepper, to taste
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 3/4 cup vegetable brother
  • 1 TBSP dry sherry
  • 3/4 cup cashew cream* or soy creamer (important note)

(Note: to makes cashew cream- soak 1 cup of raw, unsalted cashews in water for a minimum of 4 hours or over night. Then, drain the cashews and place them in a blender with 1 c. of dairy milk of choice. Blend until smooth. Soy creamer can be used in place but I’m much prefer cashew cream. I think it provides a much more neutral base and it’s something that can be made if soy creamer is not stocked at your local grocery store)

Toppings

  • 1 large sweet onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat panko crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp oregano

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425.

Beans: Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the beans and the salt. Cover and cook 6 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately run cold water over them to stop the cooking process. Let drain and see aside.

Topping: While the beans are cooking, heat a large skillet over low head and add the olive oil, onions and salt. Stir well to coat, then cover and cook onions until caramelized, about 20 minutes. While the onions are cooking, mix together the panko crumbs, thyme and oregano and set aside. Alternatively, I imagine if you have 1/2 tsp of onion soup mix, that would also taste great mixed in with the panko crumbs.

Sauce: Spray a skillet with non-stick spray and heat over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, garlic, salt pepper and (optional) cayenne pepper. Cook until mushroom are soft and exude their juices. Whisk together the veggie broth and the flour until mixture is smooth and then add to the mushroom mixture along with the sherry. Simmer, stirring and everything is well mixed. Add the cashew cream and cook for about 5-10 minutes until the mixture thickens (the cashew cream is pretty thing anyway so this only took be 5 minutes). Add the beans.

Place the green bean/mushroom mix into a casserole dish. Top with caramelized onions and panko crumbs. Place in a pre-heated 425 degreee oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the casserole is warmed through and the  panko crumbs are golden.

To make this the night before, follow the steps through placing the green bean/mushroom mix into a casserole dish. Cover and chill until prepared to serve. Right before placing this in the oven, top with caramelized onions (I cooked these the night before and kept in a separate bowl until ready to put on casseroel) and panko mix. Cook for 15-20 minutes at 425. If you find that the mixture has turned too solid in the fridge over night, pour a little bit of soy milk on the green bean mixture, stir it around, then top with onions and panko.

I really love this dish! I was actually eating it cold and uncooked out of the casserole dish the night I was prepping it. Unfortunately, unlike the Sweet Potato casserole above, I don’t think this dish will pass as non-vegan to the other people at your Thanksgiving dinner. I think traditional green bean casserole has too distint a taste and when you start veganizing it, people will know. It’s so yummy, though! My suggestion would be if you are making this for just you, half the recipe, make it the night before,  bring it to your Thanksgiving dinner and just pop it in the oven with all the other veggy dishes when they  are heated up. You’ll get your green bean casserole AND all the left overs when you tell your family it’s vegan. At least, that’s what will happen at my house!

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