Video

Vegan Science Lab presents: Face-melting Ginger Shots

You will need:

2 3-inch (or so) pieces of ginger
1 medium-sized lemon (or 1/2 a large)
4 drops oregano oil
Sprinkle of cayenne pepper

1. Juice the ginger in a juicer (or peel, crush and squeeze by hand). You should have about 2 oz. of juice when you’re done.
2. Squeeze your lemon into the ginger juice.
3. Drop the oregano oil into the ginger & lemon mixture.
4. Sprinkle cayenne pepper on top.
5. Shoot it and feel your face melt off! Repeat, if necessary.

Gluten Free Pear & Apple Crumble

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This recipe is based on the Apple Crumble from, The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.

Ingredients: 

  • 4-5 large apples or pears (I used 3 pears and 2 apples)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup, plus 1 tbsp gluten free flour (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, divided
  • 1 cup finely ground almonds (or walnuts, or pecans)
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar (I used light)
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats (or more, I ran out!)
  • 1/4 cup crushed walnuts (or pecans)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, softened, but not melted (or softened Earth Balance)

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Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 (F).
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the apples, pears, granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon on the flour, and 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon until the apples & pears are well coated. Arrange them in an 8-inch square baking pan.
  3. In another medium-sized bowl, mix the remaining 3/4 cup flour, almond meal, brown sugar, nutmeg, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, salt, rolled oats, and walnuts. Cut in the coconut oil until the mixture is crumbly.
  4. Evenly sprinkle the topping over the fruit mixture in the pan.
  5. Cover with foil, and bake for 45 minutes, until the apples are soft. Uncover, then bake until the crumble is crisp and golden, about 10 more minutes.

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“Cheesy” Sauce

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This is a gluten free version of the “Melty Nutritional Yeast ‘Cheese’” recipe from The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook.

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 cup gluten free flour (I used Trader Joe’s, but am going to try chickpea flour next time, for added protein.)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 Earth Balance (any oil is probably fine, but I wanted the buttery flavor)
  • 1 tsp wet mustard

Directions: 

  • Mix dry ingredients in a saucepan.
  • Whisk in water.
  • Cook over medium heat, whisking, until it thickens and bubbles.
  • Cook 30 seconds, then remove from heat.
  • Whip in margarine and mustard.
  • It will thicken as it cools but will thin when heated, or add water to thin it.

I made a really simple meal with a baked sweet potato, steamed green beans, and an veggie burger (I used Engine 2 brand). I sprinkled some chopped sundried tomatoes, and bac’un bits on top of my potato. It was simple, but the “cheese” sauce gave just the right amount of flavor!

Gluten Free Pear & Almond Tart

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I got invited to a party, and had inherited a bunch of very ripe pears, so I knew I had to bake a tart. It was a bonus that I had all the ingredients on hand (I try to have a well-stocked pantry), so when I woke up before my alarm went off on Saturday morning, I got to baking.

Again I turned to Google to help me find a simple recipe for both the tart filling and the gluten free crust. One of my fave websites is Isa Chandra’s, theppk.com. If I could download any vegan chefs brain, it would be this lady’s. She’s like a vegan sorceress! It was no shock that some of the top recipes that popped up in the search were on her site. I ended up using her recipe (with gluten free flour) for the crust, and a recipe from Holy Cow! (also with gluten free flour) for the tart filling.

Gluten Free, Press-in Almond Crust

Ingredients: 

  • 2/3 cup almond meal (I used Bob’s Redmill)
  • 1 cup all purpose, gluten free flour (I  used 1/2 Wholesome Chow and 1/2 Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 or more tablespoons cold almond milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine almond meal, flour, and sugar in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Add half the canola oil, and stir, then add the other half.
  4. Add 3 tablespoons of almond milk and stir. Mixture should hold together when pressed between your finger tips; if it feels a little dry, mix in one more additional tablespoon of almond milk at a time. (I used 4 tablespoons.)
  5. Lightly grease pan (I used coconut oil spray), and press the mixture into the bottom and sides.
  6. Par bake the crust for 15 minutes. (Leave the oven on 350 for baking the tart.)

Tart Filling

Ingredients:

  • 3 pears, cut into halves, then thinly sliced horizontally (there’s no need to peel them– the skins melt in the mouth when baked)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (or cardamom)
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract if you’d rather not use the liqueur.
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose, gluten free flour (I used Trader Joe’s)
  1. Toss the pears and other ingredients together gently (the pears will break easily, so be careful)
  2. Set aside for 15 minutes
  3. Arrange the pear slices in the pan in circles, overlapping them (or freestyle it). Hide the broken pieces under the pretty ones.
  4. Pour any juice at the bottom of the bowl into the tart pan.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees. If the crust looks slightly golden, and the filling isn’t too wiggly, it’s done.

I was the solo vegan at the party, and  was pleased to hear positive feedback from people eating my tart. I would definitely make this recipe again!

Gluten free zucchini bread muffins

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One of my dearest friends, Jenny Bradley (@jennybradley), happens to be a vegan baker (again, I struck gold in the friend department). She is my go to source when I have questions about baking (or need a shoulder to cry on about my latest dating drama), and she recently started a blog just for that: Askaveganbaker.com.

She posted a zucchini bread recipe, so of course I had to try making it. I was in what I deemed an “emo” headspace (aka “why hasn’t he called me back?!), so I popped on (Spotify) some Built to Spill, a la 1994, and got to baking. I find that cooking and baking is a great creative outlet to put my energy towards when I’m having an off day, and at the end of the process I get to eat! Bonus!

Jenny had used this recipe as a base to make a gluten free coffee cake, which we’d discussed, so I dug into my memory and used the substitutes she’d suggested.   I also had some agave and maple syrup on hand, not brown rice syrup like she used, so I combined those. It was perfectly sweet, but not overboard. I made mine in muffin tins, but Jenny made it in loaf pans. I’ll give the baking times for both.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 flax seed “eggs” (recipe here)
  • 1 1/3 cup sweetener (I used 1/3c agave, 1c maple syrup, but you could use sugar, brown rice syrup, whatever you’d like)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups grated fresh zucchini
  • 2/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose, gluten free flour (I used 2c Bob’s Redmill, 1c Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or raisins (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Oil two 5 by 9 inch loaf pans, or two muffin tins (dozen each)
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the syrups (or sugar), flax “eggs”, and vanilla. Stir in the grated zucchini and then the melted coconut oil.
  3. Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the mixture and stir it in. Add the flour, a third at a time, stirring after each incorporation. Sprinkle in the cinnamon and nutmeg over the batter and mix. Fold in the nuts and dried cranberries or raisins, if using.
  4. Divide the batter equally between the loaf pans, or spoon into muffin tins until about 3/4 full (I ended up with 18 muffins). Bake for 55 minutes (check for doneness at 50 minutes), if you’re making loaves, or 40-50 minutes for muffins (depending on your oven), or until a wooden pick inserted in to the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool thoroughly.

My roommate and I enjoyed them when they were still pretty warm from the oven, smothered in Earth Balance. Not a bad way to spend a Friday night, and my mood definitely shifted from emo to optimistic.

Waffle Iron Mania: Chickpea waffles & Chickun Vegetable Curry

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I’ve been on a bit of a waffle kick since my dear friend, Anneke, bought me a Cuisinart waffle iron (seriously, did I get lucky in the friend department, or what?!). I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of savory waffles, so I decided to explore this world.

I’ve found that my body feels better when I eat little to no gluten (although I’m not Celiac), so I’ve been playing with gluten free cooking & baking for awhile now. This definitely played a factor in my savory waffle mission.

Through a quick Google search, I found two recipes to use as my baselines for experimentation. This meal  took me about 45 minutes/1 hour to cook, from start to finish, which seemed reasonable after a long day. It began at 6 am (I know, I’m crazy and go to a 7am Crossfit class 3 days a week), and included a long ass commute, so I didn’t want to be in the kitchen all night. I was also happy to have leftovers for lunch the next day (or 3).

Chickun Vegetable Curry
(Serves a small army, or maybe 4-5 people)
I used this recipe from About.com as my baseline, and it was very simple.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 1 green chili, seeded (I used a serrano pepper and it was a good kick)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp curry
  • 1 package of Beyond Meat  (I used the “grilled” flavor), or you could use extra firm tofu (press the water out and cut into cubes)
  • 1/2 of a large (or 1 small) cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 can coconut milk (I used “light” to stay on the lower fat side)
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

Directions: 

  1. Process the onion, garlic, ginger and chili in a food processor until smooth.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the onion mixture and spices along with the oil and spices. Allow to cook for a minute or two, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the chickun (or tofu), vegetables and the coconut milk and stir well. Season generously with 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste. I thought my skillet was going to overflow because it was so full, but it cooked down a lot. As I was stirring, I spooned the sauce over the chickun/veggies on top, so everything was well coated with the sauce.
  4. Cover and allow to cook for at least 20 minutes, or until veggies are tender.
  5. Spoon on top of your waffles and enjoy!

Chickpea Waffles
(Makes 3 waffles)

For the waffles, I went to Oh She Glows for Angela’s, “Jumbo Chickpea Pancakes” recipe. I wanted to use what I had on hand, so I omitted some ingredients and added a few of my own. I also doubled the measurements because the waffle iron needs more batter than a normal pancake size amount (and I like to EAT). In hindsight, I would probably have made even more batter, since there was definitely more curried veggies than waffles. The curry can be served over rice (or maybe in a taco!?) as leftovers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chickpea flour (also known as garbanzo flour or besan)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup + 4 tablespoons water

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the waffle iron over medium heat (I set mine to 3 out of 5).
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and baking powder.
  3. Add the water and whisk well until no clumps remain.
  4. When the waffle iron is pre-heated, spray it liberally with a non stick cooking spray (I used coconut oil spray).
  5. Spoon enough batter into the iron to cover about 2/3 of it. I start pouring it into the middle, and used the back of the spoon to spread it out a little. The rest will spread when you put the top half of the iron down. Cook for about 3-4 minutes  (timing will depend on how hot your iron is), until you can easily slide a spatula under the waffle. It will come off of the iron easily when it’s ready (otherwise it will stick like crazy).
  6. Serve on a large plate topped with chickun veggie curry!

And so it begins….

It was only a matter of time before this would inevitably happen. My passion for vegan food, and the lifestyle built around it, has become increasingly  important to me as I now cross my fourth year marker in this journey. Also, my absolute love of Instagram, and the vegan community I’ve connected to through there, has inspired me to expand upon more than just posting photos.

I never really cooked before I decided to be vegan, although I’d been mostly vegetarian since the age of 12 (thanks to my 7th grade science teacher showing slaughterhouse videos). After reading Alicia Silverstone’s, The Kind Diet, and being involved in a Buddhist meditation community, I decided to make the full switch. I haven’t looked back since, and my curiosity in cooking continues to grow. Really, it’s because I love to eat good food, and share it with people. It’s becoming more and more the main creative outlet in my life, and really does feel like a chemistry experiment (hence the “science lab”). It’s also an experiment, per se, in how to navigate through a world that, although is becoming more supportive of plant-based foods, seems to point in the opposite direction of a full on vegan lifestyle. Thankfully there are so many amazing bloggers also documenting this improvisational experience. Things are continually changing, and there are a lot of vegans paying attention to that and sharing it with the community.

I see this blog as mostly a place for me to share about the food I love to cook and eat, but also an opportunity to share some of my more personal journey and how those two things meet. Hopefully I won’t ramble too long or too often, and there will be recipes people like to try making (and enjoy eating).