Corn Bread Muffins and Your Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

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I’ve tried to make corn bread several times with different ‘fail proof’ vegan recipes around the web, but they have all been pretty much the same– dry, too dense, un-flavorful, sad. So I decided to do something that I normally hate… experiments in baking! For once in this carefully measured medium, my instincts led me in the right direction. I started with Isa Chandra’s recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen, and worked my way toward a cake-ier and more complex flavor profile. The final iteration tonight nailed it! (don’t hate me Isa, I just have omnivores to please!)

So I hope you enjoy these little cornbread muffins. They are best served microwaved for 30 seconds or so with a little butter and maple syrup on top; or of course, fresh out of the oven, burning your fingers.

In case you are hosting Thanksgiving like me this year, I’ve got you covered! Here a are 9 more Thanksgiving recipes to add to your feast. I hope this helps. Happy Holidays and remember that it’s all about gratitude… and food. It’s really just about the food.

9 Thanksgiving Recipes to Make this Season:

Portobello Wellington

Porcini Mushroom and Farro Stuffed Honeynut Squashes with Toasted Hazelnuts

Savory Sourdough Stuffing

Harvest Bliss Bowl Salad

Winter Bliss Bowl Salad

Creamy Mac n’ Cheese

Maple Mustard Roasted Rainbow Carrots

Rosemary Focaccia 

Classic Apple Pie with Salted Caramel Sauce

Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins

Makes about 24

2 cups soy milk

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 cup flour

2 cups cornmeal

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

6 tbs maple syrup

1/3 cup expeller pressed coconut oil

4 tbs Vegan Egg  (you can buy this way cheaper at most health food stores)

3 tbs of melted Earth Balance

2 finely diced green jalapeños

1.5 cups fresh or frozen organic corn

Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners.

Combine soy milk and apple cider vinegar, give it a stir, and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder.

In another bowl, combine soy milk mixture and Vegan Egg and beat for a minute with a whisk until well combined. Then whisk in the maple syrup and coconut oil and Earth Balance (f you are using it.)

Combine the wet ingredients with the dry and add the jalapeños and corn. Gently combine everything, with as little stirring as possible. You want it just combined smoothly, not beaten to death.

Spoon the batter into the liners. You can make them about level, they don’t rise very much. Bake for 15-20 minutes, till just set. If it makes you feel any safer, I just accidentally left my last batch in for an extra 15 minutes, and they still seem totally delicious, hmmm, one of the world’s mysteries. But yeah, aim for 20 minutes of bake time.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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Porcini Mushroom and Farro Stuffed Honeynut Squashes with Toasted Hazelnuts

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A little Thanksgiving inspiration for you! I found these honeynut squashes at the store, they are like mini butternuts! They fit in the palm of your hand, the perfect size for a side dish. Add something unexpected, colorful, and delightful to your thanksgiving spread this year. They were pretty quick and easy to throw together.

Porcini Mushroom and Farro Stuffed Honeynut Squashes with Toasted Hazelnuts

Makes 6 servings

3 honey nut squashes (you could also just use one big butternut)

1 tbs olive oil

a couple tablespoons of brown sugar

a dash of cinnamon

a dash of salt

2.5 oz dried porcini mushrooms

1.5 cups farro

3 cups of vegetable broth

1 tbs olive oil

6 cloves of garlic

a few sprigs of parsley

5 big sage leaves

a few sprigs of thyme

a sprig of rosemary

1.5 tbs vegan butter (optional)

1/4 cup white wine

salt and pepper to taste

1 handful of hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squashes in half lengthwise and scrape out the stringy seeds. Place them cut side up on a baking pan and rub all over with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with brown sugar and salt. Sprinkle on a small dash of cinnamon. Bake until fork tender, about 30 minutes.

Soak the mushrooms in a bowl of hot water until softened.

Bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a medium pot. Add the farro and cook until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Drain any excess broth away.

Chop the garlic and herbs and mushrooms finely. Heat the olive oil in a medium pan and sauté the mushrooms for a couple minutes, then add the garlic, herbs, and butter. Sauté for a few minutes until the moisture is gone things start to stick to the pan. Then add the white wine and stir it in, scraping the bottom as you go, and cook another minute or two.

When the squashes are done, pull them out and scoop some of the farro mixture into each one. Spread the chopped hazelnuts on a baking pan and pop them in the oven for a few minutes to toast. Keep a close eye because they can burn quickly. Then top the stuffed squashes with the nuts. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Picnic Perfect Israeli Couscous

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It’s almost time for Thanksgiving! Whether you are hosting it yourself or just bringing a side dish to the celebration, why not offer your guests something just a little bit unexpected? While I know my dream of throwing a Moroccan themed Thanksgiving will never come to fruition, (my family likes to keep it traditional) I can still sneak in the occasional side dish with some Mediterranean flavors!

This is a great potluck dish because it can be eaten hot or cold. It has big, bright sweet and savory flavors and makes a pretty accompaniment on any plate. I originally created this recipe for an outdoor picnic brunch, hence the name, so as you can see it is a quite the versatile side dish!

Picnic Perfect Israeli Couscous

makes about 10 servings

3.5 cups vegetable broth

1 tbs olive oil

1 1/2 cups Israeli Couscous

1/2 cup orzo

1/2 cup quinoa

1/2 orange bell pepper, finely chopped

zest + juice of one small lemon

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1/3 chives, finely choppped

1/3 cup mint leaves, finely chopped

1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped

1/2 cup yellow raisins, roughly chopped

2 tsp red pepper flakes (or adjust to your spiciness preference)

1 tsp turmeric

salt to taste

1 additional splash of olive oil

 

Bring the broth to a boil in a large pot. Add the olive oil, couscous, orzo, and quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 10 minutes.

While that’s cooking, get all your other ingredients chopped up. Once the couscous mixture is cooked, stir in all the remaining ingredients. Keep the pot over the heat and stir for a couple minutes to let all the flavors really blend. Serve hot or cold!

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Creamy Carrot Soup

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Upon telling my husband that I was going to make carrot soup, he said, “Oh, I just love carrot soup!” I thought that was a rather odd thing to love so enthusiastically but anytime I can get that guy to eat vegetables, I’m not going to question it. After having made this though, I can see what he was getting at!

My mom and I got carrot soup at a restaurant the other day that tasted like baby food– yuck. It was gloppy and flavorless. I had to make a good carrot soup to remind myself that carrot soup is indeed delicious! You can spice it up in lots of different ways too. But it’s also nice as just a simple soup with some crusty bread on the side. We made it a meal with a big batch of bruschetta. Enjoy!

Creamy Carrot Soup

Makes 6 servings

1 tbs olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

1.5 lbs fresh raw carrots, chopped into 1/2″ chunks

1″ piece fresh raw ginger, minced (or 1/4 tsp dried)

1″ piece fresh raw turmeric, minced (or 1/4 tsp dried)

7 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups vegetable stock

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

a dash of paprika

a dash of curry powder

a dash of cayenne

1 tbs vegan butter (butter is optional, I put a lot more in husband’s and he loved it, but it’s still delicious without)

fresh minced chives for garnish

 

Heat the oil in a dutch oven or large sauce pan. Add the carrots and onion and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the ginger and turmeric and cook another minute. Then add the garlic and cook another minute.

Add the stock and remaining spices and stir. Cover the pan with a lid and let it simmer for 15 minutes or until the carrots are very tender.

Going in batches if necessary, add the soup to a blender with the butter and blend until very smooth. You can add a little more broth if it’s too thick.

My blender keeps the soup hot as it blends but if you need to, add it back to the pan to reheat. Taste to adjust seasoning

Serve with chives sprinkled on top and maybe another dash of salt and pepper!

creamy carrot soup

 

 

Caprese Salad with Avocado and Tofu Mozzarella

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I have really been in the mood for a Caprese salad lately, but I wasn’t quite sure how to replace the mozzarella. After a little research, I found the ‘tofu method’ that others have used, and very skeptically went about marinating my tofu. I was surprised and delighted to find that it is a darn close match in flavor and texture! This salad is so basic and simple, a nice cool treat on a hot summer night. And why the addition of avocado? Just ‘cuz.

Caprese Salad with Avocado

serves 2 as side salads

1/4 block of tofu

1/4 cup olive oil + 3 tbs 

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper

1/2 tsp oregano

1 big tomato

1/2 avocado

6 basil leaves, chopped

3 tbs balsamic vinegar

Slice the tofu into 1/4 thick slices. Combine the oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and oregano in a bowl and toss the tofu in it to marinate. Let it sit for about 1 hour or overnight in the fridge.

Slice the tomato and avocado and layer them one at a time with the tofu.

Top with the chopped basil leaves and drizzle with oil and vinegar. IMG_5096

Rainbow Crunch Asian Slaw

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As the weather heats up, I always start to crave raw food. Something light, crunchy, and flavorful that comes together easily without bustling around in a hot kitchen. This slaw has it all, protein, fiber, anti-oxidants, sweet and spicy flavors, and a nice big crunch. It’s also mayo-free so it’s less fattening and can survive a cook out a bit longer than most cole slaws. It’s great to make ahead of time and have ready for lunch everyday, or bring it to your next barbecue to add some color to the table.

Rainbow Crunch Asian Slaw

Makes 8 servings

2 cups purple cabbage, shredded

1 cup shredded carrots

1 cup shelled edamame (optional)

1 bunch chives, minced

1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped

1 serrano pepper, minced

1 fresh organic ear of corn, shucked and cut off the cob

Dressing:

1/2 cup white rice vinegar

1/4 cup raw agave

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp dijon mustard

2 tbs chili sesame oil

2 tbs soy sauce or nama shoyu or coconut aminos

1 tsp sesame seeds

optional: add some crushed peanuts on top

Note: A mandolin helps shred the cabbage and carrots in seconds. Combine all the slaw ingredients in one big mixing bowl. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Then mix them together to thoroughly coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

This goes well with a big teriyaki grilled tofu steak! You can also use the dressing ingredients for any asian salad or even as a marinade!

Cowboy Caviar

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Most likely, you have heard of this recipe before. It is the easiest thing to throw together for a summer potluck or barbecue! You can eat it ‘as is’, like a salad, or use it as a dip with tortilla chips, or even pile it ontp a burger. It keeps well in the fridge for several days and has an awesomely fresh Tex-Mex flavor. If you are not going to serve it right away, wait until the last minute to stir in the avocado. Most recipes for Cowboy Caviar call for olive oil and vinegar, but I think the lime juice and avocado provide just the right amount of tangy-fatness, without overpowering the other lovely flavors.

Cowboy Caviar

Makes 6 servings

1 can black beans, rinsed

1.5 cup organic corn

3 green onions, thinly sliced

5 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 red bell pepper, minced

1 jalapeno, minced

3 sprigs of cilantro, chopped

Juice of 3 limes

1 tsp coriander

Salt and pepper

1 avocado, diced

Combine everything in a big bowl. If you are not serving immediately, skip the avocado until serving time. When serving, I like to mash half the avocado and toss all the other ingredients with it thoroughly, then dice the other half and gently fold it in. You can turn any leftovers into chimichangas 😉

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Lemony Grilled Artichokes

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Summer is finally here! Pool parties, beach days, teeny bikinis, fireworks, barbecues! I live for summertime. Last weekend was Memorial Day and we had a lovely time feasting and playing a German card game called Schnautz with our friends on the back deck. A very lazy day. I wanted to make something out of the ordinary for our barbecue, so I went with these grilled artichokes. As my mom always told me, eating an artichoke first makes everything else taste better. I thought it was just a ploy to get me to eat my vegetables, but it turns out to be true! One of the chemical compounds in artichokes, Cynarine, leaves a sweet taste in your mouth.The perfect appetizer! Artichokes have some of the highest antioxidant content of any vegetable. They can help lower your cholesterol and aid digestion. If you have never cooked an artichoke before, don’t worry, it’s really easy!

 

Lemony Grilled Artichokes

makes 4 servings

2 big artichokes

3 lemons

1/3 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

salt and pepper, to taste

a dash of red chili flakes

Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Add the juice from 1 lemon.

Using a pair of scissors, cut the thorny tip off of each of the artichokes leaves, then cut the artichokes into quarters, lengthwise (see pictures.)

Drop the quartered artichokes into the boiling water and boil for 20 minutes.

Pull them out with tongs and set aside.

After they have cooled enough to touch them, gently scrape out the furry little centers with a spoon.

Heat a grill to high heat.

Combine the juice from 2 lemons, olive oil, and garlic. Using a brush, coat the artichokes in the lemon mixture, all over.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and chili flakes.

Using tongs, lay the artichokes on the hot grill and cook about 4 minutes per side, or until lightly charred. Continue basting with the lemon mixture while they grill.

Serve immediately.

These are great as they are, but I had a little of the lemon mixture left over, and you can mix in a couple tablespoons of vegan mayo to use as a dipping sauce for the leaves.

Happy Grilling!

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Mini Chimichangas with Ataulfo Mango Salsa

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Hola! it’s Cinco de Mayo! I’m sorry this picture is terrible haha, it just is. But these Chimis were so good!!! (Do I say that too much? I think I might be saying that too much about my own food.) I started out trying to make chorizo chimichangas, and then I realized, soyrizo is pretty gross, and organic corn and black beans are ten times better. That’s not to say I didn’t think this recipe through! The ‘queso’ is the best part, and I’ve been working on it for a while. I live with several dudes, who are very proudly carnivorous. So, sometimes I cook just for the heck of it, not thinking anyone will eat what I make, because ‘Bacon!’ And sometimes, like with these, my roommates DEVOUR every little morsel, knowing full well that they are vegan, and admittedly, loving every bite.  That’s when I know I have a good recipe. The sweetness of the corn really made these sing. And, there is something sweet, mild, and comforting in the cashew sauce.

 

Mini Chimichangas with Ataulfo Mango Salsa

serves 4

1 tsp peanut oil

1/2 onion, diced

1 jalapeno

2 tbs bell pepper, minced

3 cloves garlic

mounded 1/2 tsp salt

1 cup soaked cashews

1 tbs nutritional yeast (optional)

1/4 cup water

8 flour tortillas (about 6″ diameter)

1 can black beans

1 cup organic corn

enough peanut oil to fill a small pan 1/4″ high

 

Salsa:

2 Ataulfo mangos, diced

1/4 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, minced

2 tbs bell pepper, minced

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp coriander

1 sprig cilantro, chopped

 

First, heat the 1 tsp peanut oil in a small pan. Fry the onions, jalapeno, and bell pepper for about 10 minutes over medium heat.

In a food processor, combine the onions mixture, the garlic, salt, cashews, and water and blend until very smooth. About 5 minutes. Set aside.

Heat oil in a small pan over medium. Fill your little tortillas with 1 tbs black beans, 1 tbs corn, and 1 tbs onion ‘queso’ mix.

Wrap tortilla into a little burrito, then gently lay in the hot oil, folded side down first.

After about 20-30 seconds, flip, and fry another 20 sec. You want them to be golden brown. Have a paper towel lined plate ready for them.

For the salsa, combine all ingredients. Th salsa will last 1-3 days in the fridge.

Serve everything immediately. Although you can make these chimis the day before and heat them up in a low temp oven.

Are you having a Cinco de Mayo fiesta? Here are some other Mexican favorites to round out your buffet:

Black Bean and Butternut Squash Cantina Tacos

Perfect Guacamole

Cilantro Jalapeno Chipotle Hummus

 

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Eggplants Around the World: Eggplant Tempura with Dengaku Sauce

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The final installment of ‘Eggplants Around the World’ is this crispy Japanese Eggplant Tempura. In Japanese cuisine, Dengaku refers to anything glazed in miso and grilled. Usually tempura dipping sauce is very thin and light, but I think a thick Dengaku miso glaze goes perfectly with the mellow eggplant. Tradition be damned!

The key to a light tempura batter is to use a lower gluten flour, (like cake flour, or specific tempura flour) use ice cold water, and stir the batter as little as possible with a chop stick. Because of these efforts to make such an incredibly light batter, you barely even noticed you are eating a deep fried food. But you are. And it is totally worth the smell in your kitchen for the next 24 hours.

Eggplant Tempura with Dengaku Sauce

serves 2

enough oil to fill a medium frying pan about 3/4″ deep (peanut oil works well)

1 japanese or chinese eggplant, sliced into 1/4″ rounds

1 1/4 cup sparkling ice water

1 cup tempura flour or cake flour

Dengaku Sauce

2 tsp miso paste

2 tbs soy sauce

2 tbs coconut sugar or brown sugar

2-4 drops sesame oil (I like the chili-infused kind)

2 tsp mirin

Makes the sauce first. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and stir well until the sugar and miso are dissolved. Set aside.

Heat the oil over medium heat. The goal is to get it to about 360 degrees but if you don’t have a thermometer, you can drop a tiny bit of batter into the oil, if it sinks it’s not hot enough, it should hover just under the surface and float up as it cooks.

I kept my sparkling water cold in a mixing bowl by adding a couple ice cubes. Gently sprinkle the 1 cup of flour over the bowl of water. Using a chopstick, stir the mixture gently until JUST combined. There will be very big lumps left, that’s what you want. Just get all the flour ‘wetted’ and then stop stirring.

Have a plate lined with paper towel near by. Add the sliced eggplant to the bowl of batter and submerge them so they are thoroughly coated.

In small batches, use a fork to carefully lower the eggplant slices into the hot oil. Mine were ready to flip in about 20 seconds, but make sure you can see the batter around the edges just starting to turn gold, then flip them and fry for about 10- 15 more seconds. Carefully lift them out with a fork and put them on the paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Continue in small batches until all the eggplant is fried.

Serve immediately with Dengaku sauce.

And that concludes our ‘Eggplants Around the World’ series. We covered Morocco, India, and Japan. For even more eggplant recipes from around the world (or at least my vegan American renditions of them) check out the following:

Ratatouille from France

Sticky Szechwan Eggplant from Southwest China

Baba Ganoush from Mediterranean

Spaghetti with Eggplant Mushroom Meatballs from ItalyIMG_4177