Monday, January 22, 2007

Vegan Goldfish Crackers

In some toddler circles, Goldfish Crackers are one of the four major food groups. Now vegan kids and those with dairy allergies can enjoy them, too! Nutritional yeast and spices add a cheesy taste without the cheese.

But how can we make the crackers orange without cheddar? Well, how about using the same thing real cheese crackers use: natural annatto food coloring. Annatto seed extract is used to color cheese and many other foods; of course, you can use any orange food coloring you wish or leave out the coloring for crackers that are white but just as tasty.

Before you begin, you'll need to purchase a tiny fish cookie cutter like this one.

makes several dozen

2 ¾ cups white flour
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ cup canola oil, chilled in the freezer for at least 30 minutes
½ cup ice water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Orange food coloring, as desired
Olive oil cooking spray
Fine sea salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray.

Combine the flour, nutritional yeast, baking soda, salt, paprika, cayenne, and onion powder in a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Drizzle in the cold canola oil and toss with your fingers until the oil is incorporated and the flour has formed small to medium-sized clumps. Add orange food coloring to the flour mixture, if desired.

Mix the ice water and apple cider vinegar together and drizzle it over the flour, stirring with your fingers until the dough holds together.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead a few times, adding a bit more water if needed to form a cohesive dough. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out thinly, about 1/8-inch thick.

Cut out fish shapes using a small cookie cutter. If you would like to make happy fishies, use the curved tip of a spoon to give them a smile and a toothpick to give them an eye.

Place the fish on the baking sheets, spray with olive oil and sprinkle with fine sea salt.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden on the bottom. Slide the parchment paper covered with fish onto a wire rack to cool.

Continue rolling, cutting, and baking little fish until you just can't take it anymore.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Creamy Shallot Dijon Dressing

This is the perfect dressing for a vegan bacon spinach salad: toss it with baby spinach leaves, fresh sliced mushrooms, and crisp bites of smoky marinated tempeh, like Fakin' Bacon.

makes about ½ cup

1 tablespoon shallot, minced
1/3 cup Vegenaise
1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Lots of freshly ground black pepper

Combine the shallot, Vegenaise, red wine vinegar, and Dijon mustard in a small bowl and whisk until well blended. Add lots of freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

Oranges with Raspberry Sauce and Ginger

This is a nice way to add excitement to oranges in the middle of winter, when most other fruits are out of season. The pickled ginger adds just the right touch of zing.

serves 4

6 large oranges
One 10-ounce package frozen raspberries, thawed
Sugar, to taste (optional)
Finely sliced pickled ginger (I use Ginger People Grated Ginger)

Peel and segment the oranges and remove all the membrane (I cheat on this and cut my oranges in half, then score and scoop them out just like a grapefruit). Do this over a medium bowl, collecting all the extra juice and putting the orange segments into the bowl.

Use a strainer to get all the extra orange juice out of the bowl of oranges and place it in a Vita-Mix or other blender along with the raspberries. Blend until smooth. Taste and add a little sugar if desired.

To serve, divide the orange segments into dessert bowls and top with a generous amount of pickled ginger. Serve with raspberry sauce.