Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Coconut Bacon

I recently had some very delicious vegan cajun food at a newer restaurant - Krimseys Cajun Kitchen in North Hollywood (http://krimseys.com/). They topped their soup with maple coconut strips, which gave me the idea for trying it at home.

This is very similar to the Bacon-ish Bits recipe posted here previously. I didn’t have maple syrup, so I used coconut sugar instead. The online recipes I’ve seen for vegan bacon include liquid smoke. That’s a bit too carcinogenic for my liking.

Equipment needed: Mason Jar with lid (holds at least 3 cups), 1 cup Measuring Cup, 1 tbl Measuring Spoon, Glass Baking Pan (could be metal or silicone or...), Oven

1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 cups reduced sodium Tamari (contains soy)
2 tbls Coconut Sugar
Coconut Flakes

Or 3 cups of your marinade of choice. The resulting flavor depends on what’s in your marinade.

Fill the mason jar to near the top with coconut flakes. Add the rest of the ingredients. Put the lid on and shake over the sink in case it leaks. Refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours. The timing on this is flexible. I like to do overnight to be sure the coconut absorbs a decent amount of the marinade. I also like to sit the jar on a paper towel to absorb any drips.

Pre-heat oven to 250 deg (F)

Drain the coconut. If you like the marinade and want to make more “bacon”, save it. I drained mine into a container of sunflower seeds. Those will get baked soon.

Spread the coconut into the baking pan. It can be layered - I recommend less than 1” deep. Bake for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. You may need to scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any that are stuck. Turn off the oven and allow the coconut to crisp up as the oven cools.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Yuca Fries

I’m looking at doing this potato chip style but not sure how it will work out. So far, my research says yuca must be cooked properly or it can kill you. Nice one, yuca. So boil it first and then play around with recipes. Got it.

Here’s an existing recipe that looks really good: https://www.thehealthymaven.com/2015/03/crispy-baked-yuca-fries.html

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Smoothies and Cookies

I’ve recently gone back to making my own breakfast smoothies. This morning, I decided to use some of that to make cookies too.

And this is where I talk about how much I love my Vita-Mix. Yes, it’s expensive. I use it at least 3-4 times a week. I love that I can make milk, smoothies, cashew cream sauce, soup, yogurt, etc in one machine. If it runs long enough (about 3 minutes), it heats up whatever is in there. Of course, it also sounds like someone fired up a jet engine in the kitchen.

So back to the yummy bit:
The liquid container is 64 oz. I put the following in there and added enough water to cover the lot - which filled the container.

8 pitted Dates
9 oz raw, unsalted Cashews
1/2 pkg frozen Spinach (8 oz)
1 pkg frozen Raspberries (10 oz)

Ran that on high until it was well blended. That is the smoothie part. It can also be made with zucchini rather than spinach, but I used the last zucchini in the house making cashew cream sauce for our pasta dinner the other night. This smoothie is on the thick side. You can thin with more water as needed.

For the cookies:
2 cups Smoothie
2 cups Almond Flour
1 pkg mini Chocolate Chips.

Baking was along the lines of the generic cookie recipe, except I flipped these at 30 minutes and turned off the oven after another 25 minutes. After an unspecified amount of time, I pulled them from the oven. That last bit allows the stragglers to finish baking without burning the overachievers.

Lunch-to-go or The Savory Cookie

I’ve been thinking of ways to make an easy to take, healthier snack that’s on the savory rather than sweet side. My favorite go-to was potato chips, but nightshades do not nice things to my finger joints. Popcorn can be good except that I often eat a very large bag in one sitting - which is not so good.

I made a double batch of the Cashew Cream Sauce - about 3 cups worth - and added 1 cup of brown rice flour. 

Baking was along the lines of the generic cookie recipe. I made them bigger around (about 2 1/2 inches), and they stuck to the cookie sheet a bit if they were more done at flip time - probably a good candidate for using parchment paper on the cookie sheet.

This is sort of an everything bagel in cookie form. It takes a second to get past the cookie signal to the brain that says this must be sweet. Perhaps a different shape would help with that. Maybe more along the lines of bread stick?

Friday, January 5, 2018

MOGT Cookies

Make one, get two. Yeah - I don’t think it’ll catch on either. It’s the same batter base with two different flavor additions.

I started with a vanilla cashew milk:

2 cups raw, unsalted Cashews
4 cups Water
10 pitted Dates
1/2 tbl Vanilla Powder

Blend that on high in the Vita-Mix until it’s thoroughly mixed. If you’re using a blender, small chunks are fine for cookies. Some people may prefer chunks - I’m not one of them.

Stir together in a large bowl:

4 cups Vanilla Cashew Milk
4 cups Almond Flour

There was enough leftover milk, to make a smoothie for my breakfast tomorrow. For that, I added some frozen blueberries and blended it on high a bit more.

I scooped 3 cups of the dough into a second bowl. This turned out to be slightly more than half the batter, but it was fairly close. The 3 cups made 10 more cookies (56 to 46).

Stir in 1 pkg frozen Blueberries to half the dough
Stir in 1 pkg Dark Chocolate Chips to the other half

Turns out the “melon baller” I use is actually a 2 tsp cookie snap. Who knew? (Besides my wife) I love it no matter what I’m using it for. Just a bonus that it’s meant to be used for baking cookies.

The baking method is the same as the generic cookie recipe: 300 deg F, 40 minutes, flip, 20 minutes.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Hot Chocolate

When you just gotta have hot chocolate...

1 cup raw, unsalted Cashews
2 cups Water
4 pitted Dates (more if you want it sweeter)
1 1/2 tbl Chocolate Powder

Throw it all in the Vita-Mix and blend until hot - about 2-3 minutes.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Generic Cookie Recipe

I’ve done some tinkering as I’ve progressed with my recipes. What I prefer with oven temps, timing, wetness of the dough, etc. has altered a bit. In general, my cookie recipes now have equal parts liquid to dry plus flavoring. What gets a little dicey is where things fall between liquid and dry, especially when you own a Vita-Mix.

1 cup of liquid plus 1 cup of dry makes about 20-25 bite size cookies. I like to use a melon baller or a 1 tbl measuring spoon to form the cookies. I’m not using parchment paper anymore, but rather dropping the cookies directly on the cookie sheet. The oven temp I prefer now is 300. Baking time is 40 minutes before the flip, and then another 20 minutes.

Dry: Defining this is fairly easy - the flours are in this category. What is sometimes here and sometimes in Liquid are things like ground nuts.
1 cup flour = 1 cup dry
1 cup oats or seeds and then ground = 1 cup dry
1 cup nuts and then ground = 1/2 cup dry
     depending on how the nuts fit in a measuring cup
1 cup coconut shreds = 1 cup dry
1 cup coconut flakes = 1/2 cup dry

Liquid: This might be easier to explain with examples.
1 cup “milk” = 1 cup liquid (even if it contains oats, nuts, and the like)
1 cup water = 1 cup liquid
1 cup applesauce = 1 cup liquid
1 banana = 1/2 cup liquid
1 zucchini = 1/2 cup liquid
1 sweet potato = Size matters, plus how much water it needs to form a nice liquid plays a role

Dates don’t count as a liquid or a dry even if they’re added to the liquid as a sweetener.

Flavoring: This can vary widely. 
For instance, with a 1 cup @ dry/liquid recipe, I add 2 tbl chocolate powder. For a 2 cup recipe, that only increases to 3 tbl. What I find with things like chocolate powder is that the bitterness needs to be balanced. Powders can also add a chalkiness that is more obvious with smoothies than with baked goods. Banana is great at balancing chalky aspects.
Other items like chocolate chips, nuts, seeds, fruit pieces, etc. generally fall under flavoring.

A recent cookie I baked had: 1 zucchini, 1 banana, and 2 cups coconut flakes blended together in the Vita-Mix. I added only 1 cup of almond flour as the liquid that came out of the Vita-Mix already had 1 cup of “Dry” in it. I also added flavoring: 3 tbl chocolate powder and 1 package dark chocolate chips.

On a cookie sheet, the cookies need to be tamped down a little as they will not flatten nor spread. Sometimes they will need to be herded into a cookie shape. Even with such a loose batter, I find they form up when baked.

These recipes are generally forgiving. Exact measurements are suggestions. Have fun. Play with your food.