Saturday, April 9, 2011

Upcoming interview from Basil Magazine & Radio!

Be sure to check out the interview for my book, The Part-Time Vegan, on Basil Magazine's Online Radio! I will also be featured in May's monthly issue of Basil :) Follow this link to the radio station!

Tune in on April 25th at 6:05PM EST to hear me discuss the book, veganism, and good food!

I'm looking into some great new spring recipes... really happy bright flavors and colors. I love the spring! I love warm weather. Can't wait to post them up here :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Part-Time Vegan Interview!

Jill, the wonderful webmistress of has posted an interview with me about my book, The Part-Time Vegan! Take a hop, skip, jump (or, you know... just click if you haven't had your coffee yet), on over and take a peek!

My two recipes for Vegan Paçoca and Brazilian Orange & Blackberry Cheesecake can also be found in the "recipes" section of the site. Thank you, Jill!

Happy cooking, all!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Vegan Paçoca

Paçoca is SO good. It is a Brazilian candy made of raw peanuts, sugar, condensed milk, and salt. What's cool about it is that if you replace the condensed milk (I used agave which has a similar sticky consistency and can hold the treat together), it is a naturally raw vegan dessert! Woot, woot!

It's so intensely peanut-buttery & salty-sweet. The consistency is really crumbly, which makes it fun to eat and make. Usually paçoca is served as little squares or as a crumble over other desserts. In fact, it would make a great pie "crust" to a raw vegan peanut butter-chocolate cheesecake.


Oh, it's also widely eaten around Easter time which makes it perfect for this time of year. If you travel down to Brazil you might also find a new variety of Hershey's that you haven't seen before:

Cool, huh?

Of course, Hershey's candies aren't vegan. But hey, one can dream. If you dipped the completed product of this recipe in some melted chocolate (1 4oz bar unsweetened dark chocolate melted w/ 4 tbsp vegan margarine over low heat) you could make your own vegan Hershey's paçoca!

Vegan Paçoca

(pronounced like pa-SSO-ca)

1 1/2 cup roasted/salted peanuts
3/4 cup tapioca or manoic flour
1 cup vegan brown sugar
1/4 cup agave nectar (don't have it? use maple syrup)

1. Process all dry ingredients.

Manoic/tapioca flours come from the cassava plant which is known as the "bread of the tropics." Many South American and African desserts/dishes are made with the starchy tubers of the cassava plant. Another cool fact about it is that, when not cooked or processed properly cassava is poisonous. Both varities, sweet and bitter, naturally contain cyanogenic glycosides. That is... a cyanide group contained within the glycosides (sugars bonded with non-carb molecules) of the plant. 

No need to fear, though! The flours that you can buy (Bob's Red Mill is a good brand) are completely safe to consume, and so is properly prepared cassava! Usually boiling, soaking, or baking the plant does the trick. In fact, I've had cassava several times before in various West African dishes and it is delicious.

The mixture will be crumbly before you add the agave.
I don't know why my hand looks like Quasimodo's hand here.

2. Add agave and process again. Try to squish the mixture with your hands. If it stays together, you're A-OK. If it doesn't, add a little more agave & process again.

3. Simply take a palm full of the mixture in your hands and press into small squares. Some people like to pat the entire mix down into the bottom of a pan and cut square shapes out, but I think doing it with your hands is easier.

Eat, eat, eat! Happy spring!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dinner Partay! 3 Easy Recipes

On Saturday I had a dinner party with some of my friends and we had an awesome purely vegan feast! It just-so-happened that way, as 3/4 people eating were not vegans (win for me!).

My friend lives in a beautiful apartment down by the river on the Lower East Side. I never remember the code to his building though, and I have to call him every time and ask like an idiot. Hahah, I've only been there about 17 million times in my life. That is an actual scientific measurement, if you were wondering.

You'd think my brain would retain the info, but. This is my brain we are talking about! It is too preoccupied with food. Unless I can eat that door code, I am not interested.

The long trek to his place from mine feels like a journey across several countries and perhaps a small continent. There is even wildlife to behold (rats and the occasional Hips. ter sapien)! After braving the frigid March weather and wild beasts like Indiana Jones, we all got to eat a cornucopia of wonderful dishes. I used the word cornucopia!

Luckily, I also had another friend to accompany me on the long walk. We always have earth-shattering, revelatory conversations when we travel to the Dinner Party Apartment, as if Abraham Lincoln and George Washington were strolling the cherry blossom-lined paths of Washington together discussing the epic problems of our modern era! (Not really). We usually talk about boys.

So, food!

My contribution to the evening (I say evening because it sounds Classy) was Pineapple Coconut Rice with black beans, white onions, and yellow peppers. I also made broiled mango- so delicious!- and fried bananas. Eating them separately is great, but I especially liked to mixed the fried bananas into the rice. Mmmmm.

Everything else at the party was amazing as well... we had some great tabouleh (cashews, lemon-olive oil dressing, peas, quinoa in lieu of bulgur wheat, and asparagas), delicious hummus and babaganoush, roasted red peppers, and of course wine!

Pineapple Coconut Rice

2 cups wild rice
1-1 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tbsp citrus (I used kumquats, but lime and lemon work too!)
1 yellow pepper
1-2 cans black beans
1-1 1/2 yellow onion
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 cup pineapple juice

The picture of this dish is much less appealing than what it looks like in Real Life with its popping yellows and blacks. I promise it's incredibly tropically tasty and filling.

1. I used a rice cooker and 1 cup water, 1 cup pineapple juice to cook my 2 cups wild rice.
2. While that was happening, I stir-fried the yellow pepper and onion in the coconut oil on med-high until the onions are translucent.
3. Add the black beans to the rice when its finished cooking, stirring so everything is even.
4. Add soysauce into the rice mixture, stir well. Put rice into stovetop pan with the vegetables to heat everything today on low heat for 8 minutes.
5. Top with citrus and stir, add additional pineapple juice if you wish!

All packed up for travel.
Roasted Mango

1-2 mango
lime juice

This is delicious because the sugars in the mango carmelize and give amazing depth to this already refreshing, tangy fruit.

*** Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1. Cut & skin mango. The easiest way to do this is by cutting off both ends, and then carefully moving your knife down the ripe mango to remove the skin. Avoid the inner seed and slice off mango meat from around it.

2. Place on a broiler pan and roast mango for about 10 minutes. Check and see if any broil marks show up, if they do, turn the mango over and cook for another few minutes.
3. Remove mango from pan and place on serving dish, cover in lime juice. AMAZING, I PROMISE. Seriously, it's one of the best ways I've ever eaten fruit in my life.

Fried Bananas

4 semi-ripe bananas
1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour (or any flour)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)
2 tbsp vegan margarine

I used garbanzo bean flour because one of my friends is Celiac. No whole wheat flour for her! Same reason we used quinoa in the tabouleh. What a downer. hahaha Just kidding.

1. Peel and cut the bananas in half. Then, slice them down the center from top to bottom.
2. Mix the flour and spices in a small dish.

3. Heat up a frying pan and melt the vegan margarine. I used med heat.
4. Cover each banana with the flour mixture and fry them until both sides are brown. Around 3 minutes on each side.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Vegan Brigadeiros

Well, after 4 1/2 fretful hours, full of not bi, but trilingual curses, I FINALLY managed to invent the recipe for vegan brigadeiros!! It was so difficult because traditional brigadeiros, a Brazilian bon-bon like candy staple, are made with only a few ingredients, chocolate, butter, and condensed milk.

It took me AGES to condense my own vegan soymilk, but I did it! Booyeah! I must say the end product is just as tasty & complex (if not more so..) than the good-old fashioned favorites!

So, for all you brave souls who wish to create condensed vegan milk on your own... make sure you have several hours at hand. Otherwise, I found a cool-looking substitute that I have yet to try: Olvebra brand condensed soyamilk

However, there's something about accomplishing a time-consuming task like this recipe on your own. It makes you feel like you've created life! It's like they're my little delicious children! Granted, that is bordering on weird. But you couldn't pull the smile off my face for an hour, amigos!

I think next time I will try making the condensed soymilk in a slow-cooker and see how it turns out. Anyways, I used to looooove these treats before I became a vegan and I am so happy & proud to share the recipe with all of you!

Vegan Brigadeiros

3 1/2 cups unsweetened soy milk
6 tablespoons of vegan margarine
1/2 cup of vegan sugar
3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa
pinch salt
walnuts (traditionally they use chocolate sprinkles!)

1. Melt the margarine in a pan, adding the sugar. Stir consistently until the sugar is liquified.

2. Bring the soil milk to a boil and combine the margarine/sugar mixture with the soy milk. Add the pinch of salt.

3. Simmer mixture for several hours making sure to stir frequently so the bottom of the mixture does not burn. Use a wooden spoon. You want the boil to be a very, very gentle one. Keep the temperature low! This step may take up to 3-3 1/2 hours. I promise the results are well-worth the labor!

*Note: you will continually need to lower the temperature bit by bit as the soy milk condenses into a lesser and lesser volume.

**You will also see a "milk film" start to develop on top of the soy milk after a little while. This is a good sign, and also a sign that you should stay patient and keep simmering! (Patience seriously sucks, I know).

4. Eventually, depending on your cookware and the heat you are using, the mixture will condense to a definite thick pudding-like consistency (one that won't completely lose it's shape when you pick it up in your hands). Add the cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is uniform. After you have achieve this pudding-like consistency, simmer very gently for approximately 15 more minutes and then let the mixture completely cool.

5. Take the completely cool mixture and heat it to high-heat on your stove very quickly. Stir constantly. Cook for 10 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the pan with your wooden spoon to keep it from burning. The mixture will look like it's starting to come apart, the oil bleeding out onto the pan. This is a good sign. Just keep mixing!

6. After you have done this, you should have an easy-to-mold blob of delicious condensed vegan milk and chocolate brigadeiro! Take it apart tiny bite-sized piece by tiny bite-sized piece, and pat them on a paper towel to remove excess margarine grease. Roll them through sprinkles to get the traditional effect (all I had were walnuts!). I find the walnuts add an appealing crunch to the smooth bon-bon texture.

7. They should be eaten right away or stored in the fridge to chill and enjoyed any time!


Once I get my hands on some of that cool Olvebra brand condensed soy milk, I will try out this recipe the easy-peasier way.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Vegan Pão de Queijo

An absolutely delicious Brazilian street food, pão de queijo is a Brazilian cheese puff/bread. They are, of course, made with cheese (usually parmesean). I tried to replicate the flavor as best I could! Traditionally, they are cooked with tapioca flour which makes for a very light texture. I didn't have any of this on hand, so I used a heavier garbanzo bean flour... it made for moist, cheesy, dense cookies. I think they'd be perfect with raspberry preseves.

Ps. pão de queijo is pronounced like (poh-jeh-kay-zjho). The more ya know!

Since the oven in my apartment gets to about 8,000 degrees, I YET AGAIN nearly burnt my fingers off despite buying new and adorable parrot-themed potholders. Damn you, oven, damn you.

Pão de Queijo
(literally "bread of cheese" or Brazilian Cheese Bread)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp salt
2 cups garbanzo bean flour (or tapioca flour)
2/3 cup nutritional yeast
2/3 cup vegan cheese (Daiya, or any other brand!)
dash cracked black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
egg replacer for 2 eggs

**Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1. Boil the olive oil, salt, water, and almond milk over the stove. Remove it immediately and add it to the flour mixture.

2. Stir in the garlic power, egg replacer, and cracker black pepper.

3. Add the nutrional yeast.

4. Fold in the vegan cheese.

5. Make small 1-inch circles and place onto an ungreased baking sheet. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned. My oven was being whacky so I had to cook each side separately for about 8 minutes to get it browned without burning it. Sigh, my oven.

(My conscience is saying, AT LEAST YOU HAVE AN OVEN. So right.)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Torticas de Morón

I finally got to make my torticas!!

Torticas de Morón are a Cuban speciality and are very popular in Cuban bakeries. Cuban cooking is a fusion of African, Carribean and Spanish cuisines, and so has a variety of immensely flavorful elements to draw from!

The predominant flavors of these cookies are lime, rum, and cinnamon. The non-vegan recipe calls for eggs and butter/lard, which I replaced with vegan-margarine and applesauce (to keep the cookies moist). They came out light and fluffy and aromatic... the perfect compliment to a bright sunny day and the red chilie & tomatillo tacos I made. Mmmmm...

Torticas de Morón
(small cakes from Morón)

3 cups flour
pinch salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cups vegan sugar
1 4oz package of unsweetened applesauce
1 cup vegan margarine
3 tbsp lime zest
3 tsp rum extract (or regular rum if you have it around)
guava paste (a common Latin ingredient, it can usually be found in the Goya aisle)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Mix the flour, salt, baking power, and cinnamon together. Add the sugar, lime zest, lime juice, rum extract, softened butter, applesauce. Mix by hand once the dough starts to form.

3. Separate the dough into 3 sections, refridgerating the ones you aren't using.

4. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface. Cut into 2 1/2-inch rounds (they should be about 1/3 of an inch thick). Line them up on parchment paper over the baking sheet. Parchment paper is AWESOME and requires little-to-no clean up. (Which is obviously why I use it).

5. Cut the guava paste into small pieces and press them into the tops of the cookies. Bake for 14 minutes until the bottoms are lightly browned.

6. Lastly, let cool for about 5 minutes and enjoy! I topped mine with powered sugar because Cuban desserts are supposed to be muyyyyy muyyyyyyyy dulce!