Thursday, September 29, 2005

Pumpkin Carob Chip Muffins

Muffins are a great way to make orange vegetables attractive to a child who might otherwise dislike them. These scrumptious muffins are filled with whole wheat, flax, pumpkin, and nuts, and are soy-free for those kids with soy allergies. Carob chips taste just right here, but feel free to substitute vegan chocolate chips if you prefer.

makes 12 muffins

1 cup plain canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup canola oil
2 TB ground flax seed
1 tsp. vanilla
1 2/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1/3 cup vegan carob chips
½ cup pecans, chopped
Perfect Cinnamon-Sugar* (see below)

Preheat the oven to 350º. Spray a nonstick muffin tin sprayed well with nonstick spray, or line the tin with paper muffin cups and spray the cups with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Put the pumpkin, water, canola oil, ground flax seed, and vanilla in a Vita-Mix or other blender and process on high for at least one minute, until light in color and well-blended. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the pumpkin mixture and mix well with a wooden spoon or large spatula until well-blended. Fold in the carob chips and pecans.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, distributing evenly to make 12 muffins. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with some Perfect Cinnamon-Sugar.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a cake tested inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then use a spatula to gently lift each muffin from the muffin tin. Finish cooling on a wire rack.

*Perfect Cinnamon-Sugar: Whisk together ¾ cup sugar with 2 tsp. ground cinnamon and store in a sugar shaker. Use as a sweet sprinkle on porridge, toast, or soy yogurt.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Golden Cauliflower Soup

This creamy cauliflower soup gets just a hint of cheesiness from nutritional yeast. The soup is filled with potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower -- a great way to eat your vegetables!

makes 6 cups

1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets (about 6 cups)
1 TB olive oil
½ a small onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 ½ cups potato, peeled and chopped
1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
1 ¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper, or more to taste
1 TB nutritional yeast flakes

Place the cauliflower florets in a steamer basket and steam until tender.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the potatoes, carrots, and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and lower the heat. Simmer, covered, until the potatoes and carrots are completely tender (the potatoes should be falling-apart tender so the blended soup does not become gluey).

When the cauliflower is tender, measure out 2 cups of the florets and set aside. Add the rest of the cauliflower to the potato mixture.

Remove from heat and transfer the soup to a Vita-Mix or other blender, in batches if necessary, and purée until smooth. Pour soup into a clean saucepan and return to the stove on medium-low heat. Add the cauliflower florets, salt, white pepper, and nutritional yeast flakes. Cook, stirring, until warmed through. Taste for salt and adjust as needed. Serve as is or sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Creamy Sweet Potatoes with Almond Butter

1 medium sized sweet potato, baked
1 TB orange juice
2 TB light brown sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
1 TB creamy almond butter

Peel and chop the sweet potato. Blend in a food processor along with the orange juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, until creamy and smooth. Heat gently on the stove or in the microwave. Stir in the almond butter until well-incorporated. Makes 2 servings.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Blackstrap Gingerbread with Lemon Sauce

This is a fantastic recipe from The Happy Lunchbox by my wonderful knitting friend Renee Pottle, who was kind enough to let me post it here.

Because this gingerbread has no sweetener besides molasses, using all blackstrap might make it a little strong for your taste. You can use sweet molasses instead or a combination of both.

We have an old family tradition of always serving gingerbread with lemon sauce. Pass the sauce around the table to pour over the gingerbread.

1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup potato flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. allspice
dash salt
1 cup molasses
1/2 cup oil
1 cup hot water
1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350º. In an 8 inch baking dish, mix together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and salt with a fork.

Add molasses, oil and water. Mix well, using the fork to break up all lumps. Stir in the candied ginger, if using.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes (it took 45 minutes in my oven), or until a wooden pick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool in pan on a wire rack. Makes 9 large servings.

Lemon Sauce

1/2 cup sugar
1 TB cornstarch
1 cup water
1/8 cup margarine (Willow Run and Earth Balance are vegan and trans-fat free)
1 TB lemon juice
zest of one lemon

Whisk sugar and cornstarch together in a small saucepan. Gradually stir in water, and heat over medium high until boiling, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Boil for 2 minutes, until sugar has dissolved and the sauce has thickened.

Remove from heat and stir in the margarine, lemon juice, and zest. Serve immediately or refrigerate several hours or overnight; the sauce will thicken more as it cools.