Almond “Ricotta”

When I ran into this recipe, I understood it to be a faux feta.  I have found this nothing like feta, but the PERFECT substitute for ricotta–it works in stuffed shells, lasagna, and eggplant veggie bake (recipe forthcoming).  So, I am calling this an almond “ricotta.”  Go forth and make Italian dishes galore.

I imagine that if you make this without the garlic, you could also use this as a filling for vegan cannoli.

Almond Ricotta

Makes 2 5-oz. rounds
Adapted from the Vegetarian Times

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 ¼ tsp. salt

Directions:

  1. Soak almonds overnight.  Peel the almond skins.
  2. Purée almonds, lemon juice, 3 Tbs. oil, garlic, salt, and 1/2 cup cold water in food processor 6 minutes, or until very smooth and creamy.
  3. Place large strainer over bowl, and line with triple layer of cheesecloth. Spoon almond mixture into cheesecloth. Bring corners and sides of cloth together, and twist around cheese, forming into orange-size ball and squeezing to help extract moisture. Secure with rubber band or kitchen twine.
  4. Chill 12 hours, or overnight. Discard excess liquid.
  5. Preheat oven to 200°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Unwrap cheese (it will be soft), split in half and transfer from cheesecloth to prepared baking sheet.
  7. Flatten to 2 rounds about 3/4-inch thick.
  8. Bake 40 minutes, or until top is slightly firm. Cool, then chill.

*Image courtesy of artur84 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Vegan Pumpkin Gingerbread by weeklybite

The temperature is dropping!!!!  Make yummy things.  Lots of them.  Give them to your friends.

I know I posted a recipe for gingerbread cupcakes, earlier this month.  I can’t help it.  It’s one of my favorites!

Make this bread in muffin tins and frost them with vegan “cream cheese” icing.  Yay cupcakes!  And THANK YOU weeklybite.

You can make these gluten free simply but substituting gram flour (chickpea flour) for the whole wheat, below.  Yes, seriously.

Image courtesy of Farmers Market Foods

Image courtesy of Farmers Market Foods

Vegan Pumpkin Gingerbread

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1.5 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine your flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and ground ginger. Mix until all ingredients are combined.
  3. In a separate bowl combine vegetable oil, pumpkin, applesauce, and water. Mix through.
  4. Add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients and mix until all ingredients are combined.
  5. Oil a loaf pan and pour batter in.
  6. Bake at 375 degree for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

A Guide To Truffles, The Funkiest Of The Fungi by gothamist

If I had a truffle… If I had a truffle, I would shave it over fresh baked sourdough toast drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with fleur de sel.  If I had a truffle, I would shave it over a steaming bowl of Isa Chandra’s “Glam Chowder.”  If I had a truffle, I would have friends over EVERY day to have a _________________ with truffles dinner.

But, alas… I do not have a truffle.

Ok, so, instead, I DO use truffle oil… because I’m a GRAD STUDENT… and, yes, I know what truffle oil is… I do… If I didn’t, I surely got suspicious when I saw it in Trader Joe’s (no disrespect TJs, but let’s be real) and on more folks’ french fries than I could count.  But, as with any rage about an ingredient, so few people really understand what a truffle is or why they should even eat it.  Anyway, here’s a great article from gothamist that breaks it ALL down.

A Guide To Truffles, The Funkiest Of The Fungi

By Nell Casey
October 14, 2013

Black truffle.  Image courtesy of TheItalianRetreat

Black truffle. Image courtesy of TheItalianRetreat

Truffles, truffles, truffles—they’re all over the foodiot blogs and local chefs have been worked into a tizzy over these odd-looking little lumps. With autumn comes truffle season, which means you’ll be seeing the funky fungi pop up on menus all over the place, demanding that you part with serious cash for a shower of shavings on top of your agnolotti. “Aren’t truffles just some bourgey ingredient chefs like to tack on to dishes to jack up the price?” skeptics will ask. You’ll be tempted to listen to them, but don’t. Yes, truffles can be expensive, but they are also really, really delicious and—if you known the right way to go about it—very much worth your money.

We’ve put together a little Truffle FAQ for anyone wanting to know what all the fuss is about and, hopefully, also interested in seeking out some truffles of their own.

So aren’t truffles really just absurdly priced mushrooms? In a sense, yes. Truffles are a type of fungus that grows on the roots of trees like oaks and beeches, drawing nutrients from the tree and developing its musky flavor. In certain parts of the world truffles are cultivated in special fields, though for many purists they’re still foraged in the wild, which is why you’re going to be paying hundreds of dollars for something that most closely resembles a rock and kind of smells a little funky. Originally, foragers used pigs to scout out the goods, though their eagerness to eat the truffle has caused many regions to switch to using dogs. In Italy, it’s actually against the law to use pigs to hunt truffles.

Read the rest, here.

How to Veganize Cakes: The Basics, from One Green Planet

Yay, One Green Planet!!  This is a perfect “get started” with vegan cake baking.  I have recently switched from looking for vegan recipes to converting some of my favorites from my pre-vegan-eating (even pre-veggie) days.  It does make life a lot easier, and also means I can get back to The Joy of Cooking–which may, always, be my favorite cookbook, ever!

How to Veganize Cakes: The Basics

The basis for most vegan cakes is simple. You make a dry mixture and a wet mixture, and combine them. Easy! Once you get the hang of the concept, this simplicity means it’s easy to play with ingredients and create your own inventive recipes. Before you start getting creative, just master these basics.

1. Make a thicker batter

The main difference between ‘traditional’ and vegan cake batters is the consistency.  Vegan cake batter should be much thicker – like a softly melting ice cream rather than a liquid batter. This is why many first-time vegan bakers end up with something quite stodgy, because there was simply too much liquid in their batter.

One reason for this difference is the use of, or absence of, eggs. Think about what happens when egg is heated – it goes from liquid to solid. In a traditional batter, the egg part of the batter literally solidifies as it cooks, turning from liquid into solid to hold the risen structure firmly in place. In vegan baking, the batter doesn’t travel so far along the liquid-solid spectrum, so you need to start with something thicker.

2. Make sure there is a binding ingredient

If you are using flour that contains gluten (wheat or spelt), the gluten will do the job of binding the ingredients. However, it’s advisable to include at least one of the following in your recipe to make sure you don’t end up with a cake that crumbles as you slice it:

  • 1tbsp ground golden linseed mixed with 2 tbsp water (can be used to replace 1 egg in any baking recipe)
  • 1 – 2 tbsp ground chia seeds mixed with 2 tbsp water
  • 100g silken tofu, blended smooth
  • 1 mashed banana

3. Reduce oven time

Many vegan cake batters will require less baking time because of their lower liquid content. With a fan oven, you probably won’t be waiting more than 15 minutes. The exception to this rule is brownies, which always need a longer time at a low temperature to make them really fudgey.

Read the rest of the article, here.

The Five Best Food Processors from Our Tests for $100 Or Less by Consumer Reports

Heya folks… some of these are already a bit hard to find, and the #1 is only 7 cups (watch for capacity)… but this is a great starting point.

By: Daniel DiClerico
Consumer Reports News:   July 18, 2013, 12:38 PM

Consumer Reports’ top-rated food processor, the Breville BFP800XL/A is masterful in just about every way, and it’s incredibly quiet. But at $400, it’s also the priciest model in our Ratings by far. What if you can only spend $100? Or even $50? It turns out there are some decent models at that price point, though you’ll have to settle for one or two deficiencies. Here are five to consider from Consumer Reports’ complete food processor Ratings.

Cuisinart MFP-107BC, $100. This is the one $100-or-less model on our recommended list, combining superb slicing and shredding with very good chopping and grating. It holds 7 cups, which could be a plus or minus depending on your needs. The compact machine won’t take over your countertop, but if you do a lot of high-volume processing, say for slaws and stir-fries, the relatively smaller capacity (other recommended models hold 11 to 16 cups) could be an issue.

The Hamilton Beach Big Mouth sells at Sears for $64.99.  Photo courtesy of Sears.

The Hamilton Beach Big Mouth sells at Sears for $64.99. Photo courtesy of Sears.

Hamilton Beach Big Mouth 70573, $70. This 14-cup food processor performed very well or better on every processing task, beating out models that cost two or three times as much. Its model name refers to its ample feed tube, which you’ll appreciate when shredding chunks of cabbage or slicing large potatoes. The only knock against the Hamilton Beach is the noise. It’s a lot louder than most recommended models, and that could be an issue if you’re sensitive to sounds or there’s a baby sleeping in the other room.

Farberware FP3000FBS, $60. This Walmart-exclusive from Farberware has a roomy 12-cup processing bowl, plus a mini-bowl for chopping nuts, herbs, and other smaller items. It performed very well at chopping, slicing, shredding, and grating. But it struggled with purees, so this is not the best choice if you like to blitz soups and sauces in the food processor. Like many inexpensive food processors, it’s also on the noisy side.

Hamilton Beach 70730, $50. Another low-priced option from Hamilton Beach, this 10-cup model combines decent capacity with mostly standout performance. Shredding in particular is superb, and it also does a fine job chopping, slicing, and grating. Like the Farberware, it’s not great at pureeing and noise is once again an issue.

Oster FPSTFP4010, $30. Oster’s 4-cup model looks like it belongs in our food chopper Ratings, but the fact that it slices and shreds makes it a food processor, and it actually holds its own against many full-sized models. It did struggle somewhat in our shredding tests, but otherwise it should do the job for all of your processing needs.

See original article, here.