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Vegan Planet: May 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012


Tropical Tiramisu

It seems like ages since my last post, but I've been so busy working on the new one-dish book as well as final edits on the new slow cooker book.  In between, I've also been doing lots of cooking -- including making this new variation of tiramisu using pineapple, coconut, and rum (shown here with some of this year's gorgeous lilacs).  This tiramisu is a bit lighter and more refreshing than the traditional kind, making it ideal for the warmer weather, although I wouldn't turn down the traditional version, that's for sure.

I've also been cooking lots of fresh greens that our generous friends Jeff and Seung Hee are kind enough to let us pick whenever we want (which is basically most of the time!) Here's a photo of just some of the greens we picked recently, all spread out on the table.

In addition to lots of sautes, salads, soups, and stir-fries, some of the greens were transformed into refreshing green drinks like this one, blended with mango and lime juice.

Now back to that dessert....Below is the recipe for Tropical Tiramisu.  For the cake, I used a few slices of pound cake that I had in the freezer from the recipe in 1,000 Vegan Recipes.  It's such a good all-purpose cake, that I like to keep some on-hand for emergencies like this one!  Instead of the pound cake, you could substituted any vegan white or yellow or sponge-type cake.  Also, you can assemble the tiramisu directly into dessert glasses instead of making it in a pan.  Up to you.
Hope you enjoy!

Tropical Tiramisu
Serves 6

3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
3/4 cup coconut milk or pineapple juice (or half of each)
1 (8-ounce) container vegan cream cheese
1 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1 cup fresh or canned pineapple chunks, pureed
3 tablespoons dark rum
4 to 6 (1/2-inch thick) slices of vegan pound cake, sponge cake, or other white or yellow cake
1/3 cup toasted coconut

1. In a food processor or high speed blender, combine the drained soaked cashews and coconut milk, and process until smooth and creamy. Add the vegan cream cheese, coconut extract (if using), vanilla extract, and the 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar.  Process until completely smooth.  Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine the pureed pineapple, rum, and remaining 1 tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar and stir to mix well.
3. Arrange a single layer of cake slices in an 8-or 9-inch square baking pan (you may need to cut some of the pieces to fit). Brush the cake with the pineapple-rum mixture, allowing it to soak into the cake. Sprinkle with half of the coconut. Spread the filling mixture evenly on top. Sprinkle with remaining coconut. Chill for 4 hour before serving.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012


Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker

I absolutely LOVE the cover of my soon-to-be-published slow cooker cookbook! Isn't it gorgeous?  That's the Seitan Ropa Vieja on the cover. This new book is due to be released in early October, but is available for pre-order now on Amazon.

I've already posted a few tester photos here, but I thought you might like to see a few more. So, here is another sampling of the recipes that await you in Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker, photos taken during testing by a few of my fabulous recipe testers Sabrina, Lori, Lea, and VeganAide:

Maple Dijon Root Vegetables

Seitan Fajitas

Creamy Polenta with Mushroom Ragu

Seitan Posole
Chocolate Truffle Cake

So what do you think? Ready to get out your slow cooker and start cooking?

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Monday, May 7, 2012


Chickpea Bacon Balls aka Smoky Chickpeas

My latest post on One Green Planet is a recipe for Smoky Chickpea and Watercress Salad with Mango and Avocado.  I strongly urge you to click on the link for the salad recipe.  You'll be glad you did and, I can tell you that although you may go for the salad -- you'll stay for those smoky chickpeas.  They're that good.  So good, in fact, that I just had to tell you more about them.

As I mention on OGP, I've had a thing for roasted chickpeas since my grandmother introduced me to them when I was a kid.  I couldn't help but think that roasted chickpeas might be an ideal vehicle for the smoky flavors contained in the marinade I use to make vegan bacon.  I thought about calling them "chickpea bacon balls" but decided "smoky chickpeas" was the better choice.

The inspiration for the smoky chickpeas came as I was thinking about the best spinach salad I ever had at a restaurant in my hometown. It was garnished with crumbled bacon and topped with a creamy dijon dressing. For my own part, I tend to make mustard dressing only when I have an almost empty mustard jar (so I don't waste any), which happened to coincide with my spinach salad memory and my acquiring some lovely watercress which I wanted to pair with mango and avocado. 

Suddenly the stars were aligning as I imagined how wonderful a smoky bacon flavor and a creamy mustard dressing would complement the watercress, mango, and avocado.  I've been making vegan bacon out of everything but the kitchen sink these days, from the usual tempeh and tofu, to kale, and sliced mushrooms.  Why not chickpeas?  After all, I add chickpeas to virtually all my salads anyway, but giving them a smoky-bacony flavor would really take them over the top.

Instead of a regular creamy mustard dressing I wanted to play up the flavors of the mango as well as the smoky chickpeas, so I added a bit of liquid smoke to the dressing along with some mango.  Oh yeah.

I predict that I will be making smoky chickpeas often.  They'd be great tossed with cooked grains and greens, or even on their own as a snack.  And I know for sure, they're going to grace my salads from now on! 

Are you going to try them? (If you do, let me know what you think of them!)

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