Category Archives: others

Blueberry Flaugnarde aka Blueberry Custard Cake

Blueberry panstard? Cakestard? No. Stardcake…erm. How about blueberry cuscake? I’m tryin’ to Brangelina this lovely blueberry dessert. Because it is a suprising, yet magical combination between custard and pancake. And shouldn’t all magical combinations of things have their names blended together? 

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I saw this on The Misfit Baker’s (now retired) blog awhile ago. And since Neal recently bought a ginormous bag of frozen blueberries (which I also used here), I decided to give it a go. The recipe is super simple and doesn’t have a lot of steps which is something I love about all of Starr’s recipes. This particular recipe is as simple as blend, pour, sprinkle and bake.

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It tastes like a delicate blueberry custard with a bit of pancake-feel going on around the edges and bottom. Which is pretty much how Starr described it on her blog, as a mix between custard and pancake.  In fact, that very description is what led me to pin the recipe.

The only mods I made:

  • I was feeling extra non-measure-y, so I just drained and dumped in a whole 12.3 oz box of firm silken tofu in the food processor. This, instead of measuring out 1 1/2 cups of pureed tofu. Seemed about right.
  • Didn’t have a 10-inch spring form pan, so I used an 8-inch baker’s pan. This resulted in a thicker custard cake and I had to bake it an extra 15 minutes as a result.

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Even with my janky mods, it came out delicious! I ate it warm. I ate it cold (before I even realized that’s like a thing that French people actually do). In all variations, it was tasty. But my favorite way to eat it was warm with a glass of almond milk.

This blueberry flaugnarde was lovely to eat for breakfast and for dessert! It could even be a great afternoon snack. But of course if I ate it in the afternoon I’d have to follow it with a nice long nap. So if someone asked me what I did that day I could say — oh, I had some blueberry cuscake and an afsnap (afternoon snack and nap).

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What custard-y foods do you enjoy eating?

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Homemade Artisan Vegan Butter by Miyoko Schinner

Artisan vegan butter? Ok, real talk. Before making this I never thought “artisan” was a word that would enter my vocabulary. When talking about food no less! Because I always associated “artisan” food with someone more (insert myriad of adjectives here: grown-uppy, sophisticated, chef-y, skilled).

But no. I get it now. This could just be called vegan butter. But it needs to be described as artisan. Not because I’m a finely skilled maker of vegan butter. Because I’m not. This was my first time making it. Or because I suddenly “grew-up”. Because I will forever be playing grown up (I’m a child inside, see this post, 12th picture down).

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But because when I first tasted this creamy vegan butter, I could picture myself on a French country hillside. Surrounded by sweetly scented wildflowers. Spreading this lush butter on a crusty baguette. Eating it with fresh juicy apricots and pears so ripe that the sticky sweet juices coat my hand.

A glass of wine in hand (and I don’t even drink!). The setting sun’s last rays casting long shadows across the small rustic wooden dinner table covered with breadcrumbs. My butter knife clinking against the plate as I repeatedly pick it up and put it down to have more of this creamy white butter. Maybe Yann Tierson is there playing some classical French jams with an accordion.  You know, because all my French imagery comes from movies with a soundtrack.

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So that. That is why this butter is not just vegan butter, but artisan vegan butter. If Earth Balance is currently your butter of choice. Trust me. You will be blown away by how delicious this is. Butter will go from just something you spread on stuff to its own separate food group.

It’s also incredibly easy to make this coconut oil based butter at home. This was my first ever attempt at making butter and it came out perfectly. I’m at the moment really in love with the idea of buying less staples like this and making it myself. I have aspirations of being a vegan homesteader you see. But a lazy one. This vegan butter recipe fits the bill. The recipe is from Miyoko Schinner at Artisan Vegan Life and was posted as a video by Richgail at ASTIG Vegan.

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Artisan Vegan Butter by Miyoko Schinner

posted with permission from Miyoko Schinner.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of REFINED* organic coconut oil, liquified
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or any non-dairy milk)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (or any mild oil)
  • 1 1/2 tsp of lecithin granules (Miyoko uses 2 tsp of liquid lecithin but I only had granules)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2-1 tsp salt

* refined coconut oil will not give the butter a coconut flavor/scent

Directions

Throw everything into a blender and blend for about one minute to ensure that the liquid stuff is properly blended with the oils (that is what the lecithin is for). Pour into a container and let set in the fridge.

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Ours has kept well for a couple of weeks in a mason jar. Here I put it on fresh-from-the-oven skillet cornbread (from Veganomicon). I don’t normally use that much butter on a single piece of cornbread, but I wanted to make sure you could actually see it (did you know it’s really hard to photograph melting butter?). It spreads easily and melts nicely when spread on hot food stuffs.

In the original video, Miyoko mentions that this butter is extremely customizable. Just imagine. You can whip it, make it thicker, make it thinner, incorporate herbs and flavors, make it less salty or more salty…

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After having made this, I am now anxious to get my hands on Miyoko’s book, Artisan vegan Cheeses. Now excuse me, I must go find something else to eat with this butter. Oooh la la!

Do you own Artisan Vegan Cheeses? What’s your favorite recipe from the book? Or have you made your own vegan butter before?

Cinnamon Apple Strudel with a Flaky Phyllo Crust

Cinnamon Apple Strudel with a Flaky Phyllo Crust - Luminous Vegans

It wasn’t long ago that I used to curse at myself any time I used phyllo dough. I would swear off working with it after each and every time.  For every single break or tear (and there were many, still are), I would plead to the phyllo gods— why?! why is this so difficult??

But then suddenly, something shifted. I let go of my normal perfectionism and let the phyllo dough do what it was meant to do. I let it crack. I let it break. And when I placed them on top of one another, I let them have folds and wrinkles. When my lightly buttered pastry brush swept over the folds and caused another tear in the sheet, I didn’t freak. Corners not lining up? I’ve got better things to worry about.

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That’s because phyllo dough, I’ve decided, is magical. It seems that no matter how many rips, tears or lumpy folds I’ve let slip through, it comes out of the oven with a perfectly golden crust. A crust so delightfully crisp that it breaks into tiny buttery flakes under the slightest pressure from my fork.  Phyllo dough has taught me that sometimes letting go yields the best results.

Cinnamon Apple Strudel with a Flaky Phyllo Crust - Luminous Vegans

I’ve used phyllo dough to wrap mushrooms and eggplant and as a crust for vegan chicken pot pie. This time around, I decided to use it with something sweet and autumn-y.

This warm, cinnamon apple strudel comes from Holly at Beyond Kimchee. It’s a simple recipe that has three main components. The sweet cinnamon apple filling, a layer of sugary chopped nuts and bread crumbs and the outer crust. My adaptations were very slight. I’m including them below rather than retyping the original recipe:

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  • I left the skins on my 2 gala apples. Because skin.
  • For each strudel roll, I used 5 sheets of phyllo dough stacked on each other instead of puff pastry sheets for a lighter, flakier crust. I brushed each phyllo layer lightly with melted vegan butter before placing one on top of another.
  • The outside of each strudel was brushed with melted vegan butter instead of egg wash.
  • Before putting the strudels in the oven, I sprinkled a mix of sugar, breadcrumbs and cinnamon on top.

Cinnamon Apple Strudel with a Flaky Phyllo Crust - Luminous Vegans

The individual slices are like portable apple pies with a lighter, flakier crust. It’s probably best to let this cool a bit before digging in. But it’s hard not to want to dive into that delicate crust immediately. Especially when the aroma of sweet cinnamon apples fills the kitchen and I can see the baked apple juices bubbling out of the seams and running down the sides.

Cinnamon Apple Strudel with a Flaky Phyllo Crust - Luminous Vegans

It’s another phyllo dough win for me. And I’m all for any dish that I can eat for breakfast and dessert. I’m beginning to think everything would taste good wrapped in phyllo dough.  This surely won’t be the last time I use it.

Do you use phyllo dough? What are your favorite uses for it?

German Plum Cake with Streusel

I have a sweet tooth and I love eating desserts. However, I don’t like making them that often because usually it’s like — measure one million ingredients, now mix the wet stuff in a separate bowl from the dry stuffs that must be sifted grain by grain, next keep the warm stuff in a cup balanced on your nose away from the cold stuff but then slowly add the cold stuff to the warm stuff keeping them separate .

Ok I know I’m exaggerating, but can’t I just twitch my nose like Samantha on Bewitched and have desserts magically appear in front of me?

German Plum Cake with Streusel - Luminous Vegans

Soooo, easy desserts are key for me. When I make a dessert from a recipe* it must:

  • Be simple. The directions should not be a mile long and the ingredient list should be fairly short and include easy to find stuff.
  • NOT involve rising dough as I have an irrational fear of dough-making involving yeast.
  • Look amazing…like something I would stuff in my face hole all day, err’ day. This is an obvious requirement, no?
  • BONUS (not required) if it is a dessert that I can fool myself into believing is also a breakfast dish. Usually the involvement of fruit is key.

When I came across this German streusel plum cake on Seitan is My Motor during Vegan MoFo, it satisfied all three requirements and even the BONUS. The weird thing is that I don’t even eat plums. Plums just don’t make it into my grocery cart. But when I saw this beautiful dessert and how simple it was, I had to have it. Especially when I saw these beautiful plums at the farmer’s market.

German Plum Cake with Streusel - Luminous Vegans

I followed the recipe pretty much exactly which was as simple as make batter, place plums, make and crumble streusel on top. My plums seemed to be slightly bigger. I ended up using five plums total. Here’s a shot of how I laid it out pre-baking below.

German Plum Cake with Streusel - Luminous Vegans

I also used unrefined coconut oil instead of refined coconut oil for the streusel topping because that’s all we have. And I baked it for about 10-15 minutes longer at 320F to get it to that “finished” state (most likely due to oven differences).

German Plum Cake with Streusel - Luminous Vegans

None of these slight alterations (or perhaps errors in the plum layout) mattered. After baking, everything magically “melded” into a beautiful and tasty plum cake with streusel. It was eaten pretty quickly by just the two of us because it was so delicious! I ate it for breakfast. I ate it for dessert. Yes, on the same day. More than once. Thank you to Seitan is My Motor for a fabulous recipe!

Do you have any requirements when it comes to making (or eating) desserts or other dishes?

*These are rough requirements for non-dessert recipes as well.

Easy Baked Eggplant Fries

It wasn’t too long ago that I cooked eggplant for the first time.  And, yeah, I’m a little obsessed with it now. Neal even jokingly mentioned to me the other day — you know, you don’t have to put eggplant in everything right? So of course I then decided to make something that featured eggplant and only eggplant…muahahahaha!

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These panko-crusted baked eggplant fries from Oh My Veggies were devoured by the both of us in less than an hour. These were soooo good. Yup. A quadruple “o” so good! That’s how good these eggplant fries were. They were also really simple to make. Think cutting-mixing-double dipping-baking simple. The only things I did differently to the recipe were as follows:

  • I used one large eggplant and peeled it. I know. I was scared ok? The skin still scares me a little…this love is still blossoming between aubergine and I.
  • I threw in a lot more seasoning in the flax egg mixture as well as in the panko bread crumbs (I used the same smoke seasoning mix that’s in this post).
  • I used more flax egg mixture (about 2-3X) and more panko because I had a bigger eggplant. Or I was being overzealous with it. Probably the latter.

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I recommend eating these eggplant fries straight from the oven because that is when they are crispiest on the outside. Then for each lovely bite you will experience crispy seasoned panko followed by melt-in-your-mouth, roasty, earthy eggplant. I dipped mine in Isa’s Sanctuary Dip but truly they are delicious as is.

What other veggies do you use to make “fries”?

Going Rogue on these Crazy, Sexy Crab Cakes

I was working really hard at home. On a Saturday no less. I was hungry. But that was okay, because I knew what I was going to make for lunch. Vegan crab cakes! I had pinned this recipe for it from Crazy, Sexy Kitchen a few weeks ago and knew from the combination of ingredients, which includes things like hearts of palm, Old Bay Seasoning, nori and nooch, that it was going to be something I liked.  crabcakes-6649

It was already 1 o’clock and my stomach was growling slightly as a cautious warning to avoid getting too hungry.  But I pushed myself to finish one more task because I had glanced over the recipe and knew I’d be eating in no time.  How much time could it take to mix some hearts of palm in a food processor, stir in some stuff, form into patties and fry?

So I grabbed all the ingredients, propped up the recipe on my iPad and started actually reading the directions—crap, I got sliced hearts of palm not the whole stalk, oh well probably not a big deal…wait, what? toast the nori sheets?  I scanned some more— let the mixture sit for 30 minutes in the fridge…and then another HOUR?!! Reading is fundamental people. There was no way my stomach was going to make it another hour. I was already feeling borderline hangry.

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So, I went rogue and took some shortcuts.

  • I didn’t toast the nori sheets
  • I only let the mixture sit in the fridge for like 5 minutes while I cleaned up the kitchen
  • I messily fried the patties as I formed them, totally getting rid of the step of letting them firm in the fridge for an hour.crabcakes-6658

And surprisingly, they came out okay! A few fell apart (* see footnote) and the kitchen looked like someone had massaged all the counters, faucet handles and surfaces with crab meat mixture. But aside from that, my “ain’t nobody got time for dat” shortcuts went well. I ate mine with sweet relish mixed with mayo.

What are your time-saving shortcuts in the kitchen?

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*I learned that not flipping the patties allowed a nice crusty outside to form on one side helping to keep it together and prevented breakage. Also, squeezing firmly on the mixture while forming patties for frying also seemed to help.

These count as breakfast, right?

I’ve been on a real chocolate kick since like, um, I don’t know…forever! Thank goodness there are clever recipes out there that include chocolate disguised in a breakfast-y like package. Here are two that I made recently.

Marbled Banana Bread from Post Punk Kitchen. This looks real fancy but was so simple to make!
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Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. These were the perfect portable breakfast sweets.IMG_5009 _SnapseedThere’s a part of my brain that knows these sweet dessert-y foods should not be the meal I start my day off with. But then there’s another LOUDER part of my brain that is saying “Get in mah belly!”