Did You Know?

Did you know??
Although using avocados and bananas are all the buzz now to get soft and shiny hair, all it will get you is a messy kitchen and bathroom. These products are great to help your hair for one day, but the proteins in them are way too big for your hair to absorb. And unless you are going to use them each day (yikes!), then you should head to a beauty supply store and check out some Vegan products that use "hydrolyzed" proteins - proteins from avocados and bananas that actually are small enough to help your hair.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Going Eggless: A Multi-Directional Approach to Baking without Eggs

There's more than one way to replace eggs in a recipe. Baking is a science - you want to keep the balances between liquids and dry ingredients the same, while maintaining the correct PH levels to make your baked goods rise.

I am still learning this balance, so most of the time, I am winging it too. But, here are a few (generally) no fail egg substitutes, and a few general rules about them.

I suppose I should start by mentioning that I'm referring solely to eggs as you would use them in baking. If you are looking for more breakfast-y eggs, we have some good recipes already here. Try Scrambled Eggs, or our Vegan Breakfast Sandwich.

Egg Replacer: Okay, this one is kind of a no-brainer. You can use this powered stuff in just about anything, and it's pretty simple. Personally, Bob's Red Mill is the way to go, but EnerG is pretty good too (and usually cheaper). The package gives specific instructions, but it's 1 tbsp with 2 tbsps of water for each "egg".

Silken Tofu: 1/4 c of silken tofu is about 1 egg. You'd definitely want to use this in a denser baked good, especially if you don't feel like blending the tofu to get it completely smooth (although you should). If you use the boxed, shelf tofu, add a bit of water or soymilk to help get a smoother, creamier texture.

Banana: 1/2 of a normal banana also works well. I wouldn't use this in everything, as sometimes the banana taste can linger a bit (particularly if your banana is very ripe). Mash it up or puree it before you add it into your batter.

Flax Seed: I'll start this off by saying I actually don't use this method. I find that making it correctly is kind of difficult, but making it incorrectly is pretty easy. When I first started using it, I couldn't ever get it right, and maybe that just made me a bit prejudiced. But, anyway, combine 1 tsp flax seed and 1 tbsp water. Blend until the mixture thickens. Or, try whisking together ground flaxseed (the same measurement) with water.

Applesauce: This one is a bit trickier to get right. It's about 1/4 c of applesauce to an egg, but you are upping your liquids a bit as well. I've had some luck adding in a bit of baking powder when I use applesauce (which is not that often).

A Few I've Heard (But Haven't Yet Tried):

Pumpkin: 1/4 c pumpkin is said to also work as a substitute. I'd imagine it works the same way as applesauce, but with the same caution as banana: the taste probably does linger a bit, so make sure you are using it in something that you wouldn't mind having a bit of pumpkin in!

1 1/2 tbsp oil, 1 1/2 tbsp soymilk, 1 tsp baking powder: This one I stumbled upon while doing a little research. I can't guarantee it will work, especially given that most of those ingredients are in your recipe already in varying degrees. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

German Apple Cake


Fall is just about over in New England. It's a little sad, since it is my favourite season, but at the same time, there's nothing like a New England winter. It's cold and quiet and makes everything seem more cozy. Of course, if you asked Andy, he would say that winter is the worst up here, if only because he has genes from southern Italy. Winter makes him a crotchety old man. And though every winter he loathes to hear me say it, I love this season too.

But, with the end of fall and the first snow (today, of all days!), all I want is apples. Apple cider, apple pie, apple tart - you name it, I've baked it. This apple cake, adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking, is light and tasty and absolutely perfect for breakfast, provided that you are one of those cake-for-breakfast type people, which I obviously am.

This is a great one for the holidays, as it fulfills all the necessary components: fat, sugar, apples, cinnamon. Bam! All in one cake.
For the cake:

3 apples 
1/2 cup vegan butter 
1/2 cup sugar 
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce 
2 tbsp soy milk 
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp artificial caramel extract (if desired)
1 1/2 cups ap flour
2 tsps ground cinnamon 
2 1/2 tsp baking powder

For the topping:
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cloves

For the caramel sauce:

1 1/4 c sugar
3/4 c water
1 tsp vanilla
dash cinnamon
1 tsp artificial caramel extract

Cream together butter and sugar. Add in applesauce, soy milk, cinnamon, and vanilla, mixing well after each addition.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Line a pie pan with a circle of parchment paper to keep the cake from sticking. Pour in the batter and spread lightly.

Peel, core and slice 3 Macintosh apples and boil for 2-3 minutes (for more apple delectability, boil in 1 part water, 1 part spiced apple cider). Remove them from heat and strain them, and add them onto your cake in a circular pattern.

Combine all the topping ingredients and sprinkle on the cake. Bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

While its baking, you can make the caramel sauce. Bring the sugar and water to a boil, then reduce to medium to simmer. Add in cinnamon and extracts. Cook until mixture is gooey and thick, and allow to cool. Drizzle over the cooled apple cake once its done.


Memphis Style BBQ Sauce

    Barbeque sauce is delicious.  We really can't get enough.  Our fridge always packed with at least five different varieties at any given moment.  This Memphis Style BBQ sauce is about as watery as I can put up with, yet it's still thicker than your typical Memphis style BBQ.  Memphis style is usually a spicier sauce, but not 'hot wings' type hot sauce, but rather the heat that sticks to the back of your throat after you've scarfed down the sauce paired with an initial biting vinegar kick.  It's good stuff.

    1 cup apple cider vinegar
    1 cup ketchup
    1 tbsp onion powder
    2 tbsp minced garlic
    1 tbsp Earth Balance margarine
    2 tbsp molasses
    3 tbsp yellow mustard
    2 tbsp brown sugar
    1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    2 tsp paprika
    1 tbsp chili powder
    1 tsp cayenne pepper
    1 tsp dried basil
    2 tsp dried oregano
    2 tsp dried marjoram
    dash of cumin
    1/2 tsp liquid smoke
    salt to taste

    Mix all ingredients over low-medium heat in a saucepan.  Allow to simmer for 1 hour, or until desired consistency.

      Saturday, November 17, 2012

      Curry 'buttered' corn and kale

      Since we're getting close to the Thanksgiving festivities, it only seemed right that we played with some American foods to spice things up-- and what better way to spice things up than to add some curry to a classic!

      This dish was created in the midst of a black bean burger night, when we wanted a side, but we couldn't decide on something we both wanted.  I wanted a steamed kale type dish, Ashley wanted a peas n' mashed potatoes deal; unlike Congress, we met somewhere in the middle.  Not in the mood for plain old boring corn, we added some kale.  And some curry.  And got a little crazy with it.  But don't worry, I promise; it's delicious.

      3 cups corn
      1 cup kale
      1 tsp curry
      2 tbsp Earth Balance butter
      1 tbsp olive oil
      1/2 tsp onion powder
      2 cloves garlic
      dash of salt
      crushed black pepper

      In a small mixing bowl, add butter and spices.  Mix as thoroughly as possible, although this can be a bit of a challenge because the butter is still solid. 

      In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, add olive oil.  Add garlic, stirring occasionally until browned.

      While garlic is sauteeing, add Kale to butter mix, covering the kale thoroughly.

      Once garlic is browned, add corn.  Stir and cook until bright yellow.  Add kale mix, and turn heat to low.  Cover.

      Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.


      Thursday, November 8, 2012

      Pumpkin Spice Cookies


      Okay, how adorable are these little guys?

      As I've mentioned, the closer we get to Thanksgiving here, the more I crave pumpkins and apples. These guys were no exception. Besides the fact that they are a bit of a pain to make in a crunch (given the reduction of the pumpkin), they are soft and light and all-around delightful, even to people who don't necessarily love pumpkin.

      1 c pumpkin puree
      1/2 c margarine
      1/2 c sugar
      1/2 c brown sugar
      1 tsp vanilla extract
      1/2 tsp cinnamon extract
      1 1/4 c flour
      1/2 c oat flour
      2 tbsp cornstarch
      2 tbsp vanilla almond milk
      1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
      1/4 tsp cloves
      1/2 tsp baking powder
      1/2 tsp salt

      Choice of autumnal sprinkles

      In a saucepan over medium heat, reduce the pumpkin until you have 1/2 cup (about 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently).

      In a large bowl, cream together the sugars and margarine. Add in the cooled, reduced pumpkin and add the extracts. Sift in the dry ingredients in order and mix. Drop onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, press sprinkles gently into the top of each cookie, and bake for 10-12 minutes in a 350 degree oven.