Completely Board Post #20: Baked Eggplant Burgers

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With just a little over 3-1/2 hours left in Vegan MoFo 2014 here in the eastern US, I’m sitting down to write my final post.  I can’t believe I actually made it to 20.  It was looking a doubtful for a while. With very few exceptions, I’ve been really pleased with the recipes I’ve tried from my Pinterest boards, both the ones I could use as written and the ones I had to convert in some way.  I’m so glad this last one did not disappoint.

What you see here is my original pin with my comment: “I think I need to buy eggplant on my next grocery trip.”

Eggplant Burger Pin

That was over a year ago. I’ve been to the grocery store many times since then.  I’ve even purchased eggplant many times since then, but I had yet to attempt this burger from The Tolerant Vegan. 

I mostly followed the instructions as written.  The only two substitutes I made were cashews in place of pine nuts and gluten free (Food for Life Brown Rice Bread) bread crumbs instead of panko. And I used parchment paper instead of foil.  I think I went a little overboard on the amount of eggplant and I ended up with 5 large burgers instead of 4.  It took a little while longer to make than I want my weeknight meals to take, but I have 4 burgers leftover so it will balance out for other meals later in the week.

This is the burger queen of Mediterranean flavors.  It has it all…eggplant, onion, bell pepper, hummus, beans, garlic and cumin.  Really…how could I not have loved it?

The texture is different from most burgers I’ve had, but it works here.  It was crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.  Yes, I said creamy.  It was like there was a mix of baba ghanoush and hummus (well, duh there is hummus) in the middle.   I mostly eat burger platters instead of burgers on buns, so I’m not sure how it would hold up in a bun, but the original one seems to have worked just great.

I really enjoyed this burger topped with a lemon tahini sauce and surrounded by a tomato-cucumber-parsley salad (with a tiny bit of that tahini sauce mixed in).

Baked Eggplant Burger Platter

Thanks so much for hanging out with me this month.  I hope you enjoyed being “Completely Board” as much as I did.  Happy end of Vegan MoFo!

Completely Board Post #19: Chia Seed Jam

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Here it is the last day of Vegan MoFo!  Who can believe it went by so quickly.  And, I’m cutting it down to the wire.  This is technically my 20th post since I made an introductory post, but I’m going to try to get one more pinned recipe made and posted today. But first, let’s get on with post #19.

I must have pinned this recipe back when I was thinking about how good chia is for me but was still afraid of it.  Now that chia pudding is one of my favorite things, there is no reason to be afraid of Oh My Veggies’ Chia Seed Jam (vegetarian site, vegan post).

I went with figs as my fruit, but apparently most fruits will work.  I had some frozen figs in the freezer (multiple bags) and decided to try something a bit different from the usual strawberry or peach jam that I’m used to.  It worked like a charm exactly the way the recipe said.  It’s not the most photogenic of jams, but the photo shows you how good the consistency of the jam is.

Chia Seed Fig Jam

If you like jam but don’t want to go to all the work of sealing jars, this is definitely the way to go.  It took about 1/2 hour to make and then was left in the refrigerator to finish setting up.  Easy peasy.  I can’t wait to try it with next summer’s fresh blackberries!

Completely Board Post #18: Crockpot Wild Rice Porridge

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014

Not only am I allergic to gluten, I’m also allergic to oats (yes, even if they’re certified gluten free).  I try not to whine too much about the things I can’t have since there are so many things I can have.  But, I miss hot oatmeal.  I like the hearty texture and the way it just screams warm comfort on a cool morning.  I’ve used quinoa flakes and they’re decent (though a little strong) and I like warm buckwheat, but I’m always on the lookout for another warm cereal*.  I present to you this lovely Crockpot Wild Rice Porridge featured on the PBS website that I pinned a year ago. (It’s a non-vegan post, but they don’t show anything yucky…lists dairy milk as an ingredient…non-vegan site and I haven’t perused to know of the yucky factor.)

I haven’t had much wild rice, but what I’ve had in the past, I’ve always liked.  So I figured why not give this a shot.  Besides, when you add in dried cranberries and pecans, there’s not much that wouldn’t taste good to me.
Yes, all you do is throw all the ingredients in the crockpot, stir, and leave it for a few hours.  When you come back to it, it’s ready to top and eat.   The only substitute I made was almond milk for the dairy milk.  And, I had to cook it just a little longer (about 15-30 minutes extra).  The one thing the recipe neglected to say that I think is important is to remember to rinse the brown rice.

After I dished it out from the crockpot, I topped it with a few extra dried cranberries and pecans, a tiny drizzle of maple syrup, and a couple dashes of ground cinnamon.  Then I sat down and enjoyed it in all its nutty, warm, comfort foody goodness. YUM!

Crockpot Wild Rice Porridge

* Technically, wild rice is not a cereal, but it eats like one here, so I’ll leave the biology lesson for another day. 

 

 

Completely Board Post #17: Pretzel Crusted Hemp Tofu Strips

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014

Back in the day when I wasn’t vegan or gluten free and didn’t go to bed at 9:30, I used to regularly go through the late night drive through at Wendy’s for chicken strips and mustard sauce.  I haven’t had anything even remotely close to that for over 7 years, so when I saw this pin for Pretzel Crusted Chicken Strips on Sally’s Baking Addiction (non-vegan post/site obviously), I wondered if I could pull of a good vegan, gluten-free version.

Yes, yes, I could.  And, I did.

Pretzel Crusted Hemp Tofu

It all started with one of my favorite finds of this past year – Living Harvest’s Tempt Hemp Tofu.  Because of my soy allergy, I haven’t had a soy tofu, so I can’t really compare, but what I’ve read around the web is that it’s really more of a cross between tofu and tempeh (without the fermented smell/taste of tempeh).  Whatever it is, I like it.  I’ve only pan-fried it up until now, and it seemed a little crumbly compared to what I would expect of soy tofu.  So, I was wondering if it could handle being marinated.  What better time to try than now?  I marinated it in a Not Chick’n cube in dissolved in 1/2 cup of water for 20 minutes.  The fact is, I think it actually helped the texture. And, boy, did it soak in the flavor!

I replaced the whole wheat flour and egg for breading with garbanzo bean flour (for that eggy flavor) and unsweetened original almond milk.  Then, I coated with crushed gluten free Ener-g pretzels.  The only thing I would do differently next time is to crush all the pretzels a little more finely.  As you can see, I used two different textures of pretzels above.  The two on the outside with the finer pretzels coated much more evenly.

They are juicy and just a bit chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside. Exactly the feel I was going for.

Combined with the tangy creamy dijon maple sauce, I seriously think I could eat these every day.

Pretzel Crusted Hemp Tofu Strips with Dijon Sauce
3 servings

  • 1 package Tempt Hemp Tofu
  • 1 Not Chick’n cube
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 3/8 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/8 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 90g (3 servings) Ener-g original (or Wylde) pretzels, crushed
  • Winona Olive Oil spray  (only one I can find that doesn’t contain soy – feel free to use your own oil mister or even brush on olive oil lightly)
  • 1 Tbsp Soy-Free Vegenaise
  • 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine garbanzo flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl or plate. Put almond milk in a second shallow dish and pretzels in a third.  Coat each tofu strip in garbanzo flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Then, dip in almond milk. Then coat with pretzels.  Add more crushed pretzels to the dish if you are running low. Place tofu strips on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly spray each with olive oil spray to seal the breading and help with browning.

Bake for 10 minutes. Turn each piece over and continue baking until the outside is crisp and the centers are cooked through, about 6 minutes more. Baking times may vary, you just want them to be good and hot and the pretzels crispy but not burned.  They should last in the refrigerator about 2 days.  If you want to heat these up, they will crisp back up in the oven, but the microwave makes for a soft pretzel crust.  Not bad, but not as good as they are crispy.

While the strips are baking, mix the Vegenaise, Dijon Mustard and Maple Syrup with a fork in a small bowl.  You may want more sauce…just keep it at equal ratios of each ingredient.  (They’d be good with bbq sauce, Buffalo sauce, or sweet n sour sauce too I think.)

Try not to eat them all at once.  (This last bit of instruction is directed at me.)

I think they would also make good little appetizers (the way the original chicken recipe was written) if you cut them into short strips and put a toothpick through it.  Still keep the thickness of about 15 slices per block, but then cut them in 2-3 pieces.

Completely Board Post #16: Carrot Cake Protein Smoothie

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014

Vegan MoFo only has a few more days!  I can’t believe it’s gone by quickly.  I’m cutting it close, but I actually have a good chance of finishing my 20 posts by the end of the month. I have a plan, now let’s see if I can stick to it.  I’m actually loving the feeling of using some of my Pinterest pins, and there are so many more that I still want to try. I may just end up doing the occasional Completely Board post even after Vegan MoFo has ended.   Now on to post #16…

I love fresh juices and smoothies.  We’re fortunate to have a juice/smoothie bar right here in our own little town, but it can be an expensive habit. So, while I’ll go there for the occasional treat, I like to make my juices and smoothies right here at home.  I pinned this Carrot Cake Protein Smoothie sometime last year and can’t believe I waited so long especially since I always have all the ingredients in my kitchen.

Carrot Cake Protein Smoothie

This is going to be short and sweet (just like me…he he).  I followed the instructions using homemade carrot juice and Jarrow Vanilla Brown Rice Protein (2 Tbsp).  The only thing I changed is I used original almond milk and added 1/8 tsp vanilla extract.

It’s pretty.  It’s sweet.  It surprised me, but It really does taste a little like carrot cake. Yay for another keeper!

 

Completely Board Post #15: Maple Pecan Cookies

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014

It just wouldn’t be MoFo if I didn’t bake cookies.  Cookies are probably my favorite sweet, and they’re fun to share.  And while it’s not always a popular idea with a certain sister of mine, sometimes I just want a non-chocolate cookie.  These Maple Pecan Cookies from Wholly Vegan (MoFo 2012) seemed to fit the bill.

Maple Pecan Cookies Pin

From the picture, they looked soft while still a little chewy, so I decided to use the flour mixture that I use in the similarly textured Sparkled Ginger Cookies: 1.5 tsp xanthan, 1/4 cup sorghum flour, 1/2 cup garfava flour, 3/4 cup tapioca starch, 1/2 cup of arrowroot. In case you haven’t read my posts on cookies before, instead of a using a sifter, just “sift” the flours through a fine mesh sieve.  Unless there’s something I’m missing, cleaning xanthan out of a sifter can’t be done.

My review of my version of these cookies is mixed.

The dough is super sticky and hard to work with (refrigerate or freeze it for a little while and lightly flour your hands and it helps).  Unlike the gluten version, this dough does need to be flattened out.  I flattened the cookies out some and still ended up with puffy, cakey cookies instead of the chewy ones.  I did flatten out a few toward the end and got closer to the cookie in the picture and closer to what I would want.  I also made them too big (only got 35 out of a double batch…oops) and had to cook about 14 minutes.  At the correct size, I think 11-12 minutes would have been perfect (longer than the original, but that usually is the case with my gluten free cookies)

Gluten Free Maple Pecan Cookies

Honestly, if cookies were always all about me, I might not bother again or would at least make them all smaller and flatter.  They were good, but they weren’t crazy good to me.  The best part was that lovely pecan half right in the center.

However, I took them to my church small group meeting and people seemed to love them. I’ve come to the conclusion that it wasn’t a failure of a cookie so much as a failure to reach my own expectations.  They haven’t become a new staple, but based on other people’s reviews, I would make these again occasionally.  So, try them…they might be right up your alley.

Completely Board Post #14: Mini Sausage-Cheese Scones

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014

I had a hard time deciding how to name this post because I set out to make one thing and ended up with something completely different.  Here’s the story…

I was inspired by this pin that was on Panda With Cookie‘s old blog.

Pin of Vegan Sausage Balls

It led me over to the I-40 kitchen for a recipe for Sausage Balls. I remember going to oh-so-many church events growing up that had the non-vegan version of these on the table.  Ten year old me thought she could live on these.  Thankfully, no one let me try.

So, I set out to re-create this treat from my childhood.  I didn’t get them.  But, I ended up with something that I think I liked even better.

First of all I had to overcome the bisquick problem.  There is a gluten-free bisquick, but there’s something in it I can’t eat (I think it’s a soy product, but I don’t remember).  So, I searched the web for a gluten free substitute.  I found this one.  Just a heads up that it actually makes a little more than 3 cups.  (For the potato starch/corn starch, I actually used a combo of those two)

Then there were the sausage and Worcestershire ingredients.  I don’t know of any vegan versions of these items that are both gluten and soy free.  So I set off to find alternatives.

For the sausage, I used the beefy variety of Beyond Meat Crumbles.  As I browned it, I mixed in 1/2 tsp sage, 1/2 tsp ground fennel, and a pinch of cayenne to give it a more sausage-y taste.

For the Worcestershire, I once again relied on my handy Google skills and found this site of substitutions which said to use “2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice,1/4 teaspoon sugar and a dash of hot sauce for every tablespoon Worcestershire the recipe calls for.”  I used my usual substitute for soy sauce — Coconut Aminos.

So, I had all my ingredients, and I began to mix up my sausage balls.  It was SOOO dry.  John at the I-40 kitchen warned they’d be a little crumbly but would come together soon. I mixed for a couple minutes and still just a dry crumbly mess. Where did I go “wrong”?  Well, it could be that I browned the crumbles first which could have made them a little drier.  It could have been that gluten free flours are just often a little drier than all purpose flour.

Whatever happened, I knew the only way to come out with anything was to add liquid.  Out came the trusty almond milk.  I ended up using 3/4 cup before I got anything that would stick together.

What I didn’t think of is Bisquick+milk=biscuits.  I proceeded to brush a little olive oil on top to help with browning (it didn’t help that much) and pop those bad boys in the oven.  I did not end up with the greasy little sausage balls of my childhood.  What I did end up with was something remarkable: tiny little round scones.  Yes, the were sausagey and cheesy and biscuity.  Scones, I tell you, savory scones.  Next time, I may change them into a flatter shape so they look like a scone instead of being a poser sausage ball, but I won’t change anything else.  They were delicious!
Sometimes accidental food is the best food.  Ok, not usually.  But this time, it was completely true.  Below is the final recipe so that you don’t have to go through the notes above if you want to try them.

Gluten-Free Vegan Sausage – Cheese Mini Scones

Makes 35

Gluten Free Vegan Sausage Mini Scones

In a big bowl, combine:

2 c Daiya cheddar shreds
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 – 11 oz package Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles, browned with 1/2 tsp sage, 1/2 tsp ground fennel, and a pinch of cayenne (or cayenne to taste if you want more kick)
3 c gluten free bisquick substitute (despite the note on the recipe – it makes more than 3 cups)
1 t sage
1 t vegan Worcestershire (my sub = 1 tsp of this mixture — 2 teaspoons coconut aminos, 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice,1/4 teaspoon sugar and a dash of hot sauce)
1 t onion powder
a few drops liquid smoke
black pepper to taste
3/4 cup unsweetened original almond milk

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350F.  Mix all ingredients except the almond milk and 1 Tbsp olive oil until well combined.  Add almond milk and mix to make a nice dough. Roll into balls (I haven’t tested flattening them into little biscuits yet, but I think that would work too to make them look more like scones) .Brush tops with remaining olive oil.  Bake 25-30 minutes.  They won’t brown much, but there’s a tiny bit of browning on the bottom and the biscuit dough will be thoroughly cooked.

Completely Board Post #13: Spinach Tortillas

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014

 

I may or may not have cheated a bit and added this pin after I decided to go with this theme.  I really don’t remember.  It may be that it’s just the one that pushed me over the edge in making the theme decision.  Either way, I’ve been looking forward to trying these Spinach Tortillas from Allergy Free Alaska (non-vegan site, vegan post).

I’m way too lazy to roll out tortillas by hand, so I made mine a little smaller and used my handy tortilla press (I got 14 tortillas).  If you’re a taco fan, and don’t have a tortilla press, please for the love of all that’s good, get one.  I got mine on sale at a kitchen store for about ten bucks, so it’s not a huge investment.  Not only am I a taco fan, I’ll stick pretty much anything inside a tortilla and eat it.   A hot tortilla with just Earth Balance?  Also a winner.  Daiya cream cheese and grape jam? I’m there.  But I digress…

I love corn tortillas, but I’ve been trying to find a tortilla that isn’t corn based and doesn’t crack to pieces when you roll or fold them.  Guess what?

Spinach Tortilla

I was holding it closed in this picture, and the tortilla was hot and fresh, but look…it rolls without cracking.   When it’s cold, it cracks, but what about just warming it up?

I had these simple Beyond Meat “beefy” crumble and avocado tacos for breakfast this morning.  I put the tortillas, one at a time, over the beefy crumble as it was cooking in the skillet to heat it up. And then tried it out.

Spinach Tortilla Taco

It folded.  It didn’t crack.  Yes, I had tacos with a side of tomatoes for breakfast.  Don’t judge.

I did have to add more water than the original poster said.  I had to add 7 Tbsp after the setting of the dough.  But it was easy to work with and had a nice pliability from the psyllium husk powder.  I also never got any “bubbling” to know when to flip it.  For me, 30 seconds a side was perfect.

This is definitely the best non-corn tortilla I’ve had.  After I had my first bite, I had to get a non-gluten-freer to take a bite because I thought it might have a weird chew to it.  Yeah, not weird, it’s just that I haven’t had a flour tortilla in over seven years and I forgot they had a chew to them that corn tortillas don’t have.  Because it was new, I was standing there trying to decide if I liked it while I was searching for the Earth Balance in the fridge.  By the time I found it (in the crisper drawer?!) that tortilla was gone. I guess I liked it.

This tortilla was a little thick compared to what I’m used to (and I think mine were a bit thinner than the nickel-thickness suggested), but I think at this thickness, it could completely work as a flatbread or even a pita replacement.  In fact, I had a couple for dinner slathered in homemade hummus.

I am looking forward to getting out the mama wooden tortilla press and trying to make a real burrito one day.

Completely Board Post #12: Dairy Free Pumpkin Ice Cream

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014

My family got together yesterday to celebrate my mom’s birthday.  Her birthday is actually on August 17, but that’s another story.

It’s easy when we celebrate her birthday *on* her birthday because I know the sweet should be something summery.  But what do you do for a birthday party just a couple days before the official start of fall and it’s over 80 degrees outside?  I found the perfect answer on my Pinterest board: Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream.

I used this recipe from MindBodyGreen that boasts only 5 ingredients.  I have a bit of a pet peeve of recipes boasting few ingredients and then one of them being something like “yellow cake mix”?  Hello…there are probably 12 ingredients in that.  But, since the “offense” here was pumpkin pie spice (actually a mix of 4-5 spices that I always have in my kitchen), I won’t ding them on that one too badly. ;)

I set out to try the non-ice cream maker version just to let y’all know how it worked.  I was making a double batch and after 2 hours of the mixture being in the freezer I could hardly see any progress.  I’m sorry I can’t report on this for people that don’t have an ice cream maker, but I only had 2 hours left until the party. I switched over to the ice cream maker version.  I followed the instructions on my ice cream maker (use cold ingredients, freeze the canister for at least 30 minutes, churn for about 30 minutes).

So do you want to see it?

Dairy Free Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream

It was as delicious as it looks.  Seriously, it was pretty much everything I hoped it would be.  Creamy, sweet but not too sweet, pumpkiny and spicy.  The only thing I did differently was add about two pinches of salt to enhance the flavor/offset the sweet and churned for about two more minutes to mix it in.  It didn’t taste salty, but I really do think it brought the pumpkin and spice flavors out a little more

This will be made at our house again.  and again.  I’ve also gotten the confidence and inspiration to try some new flavors.

It does freeze hard after a few hours after returning it to the freezer, so eat it soon after churning and then when you go back for more (because you will go back for more), you’ll need to let it sit out and soften a bit so you can scoop it out.  After you’ve done this and refrozen it, it’s becomes a tiny bit icy, but not so much that it’s a deterrent.  I’ve had a few scoops since the party.

I sent some home with my nephew and he said he was going to mix it with his espresso and make a frappe.  I now officially think he’s a genius.

Speaking of my nephew, he’s getting married in a few weeks.  After the party we were going through old family photos to find ones of him growing up for the wedding slide show.  I came across this one of me in my red checked zip-up polyester jumpsuit.  Based on the hairstyle, I figure I was in second grade so we’re talking 1978.  My sister told me she remembers it definitely had bell bottoms.  Second grade me would have liked the ice cream too.

Second Grade Dawn

Completely Board Post #11: Peach Polenta Upside Down Cake

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014

 

In the post about the jello pretzel salad, I mentioned that I wanted a cake for my veggieversary but hadn’t had the time to make it yet.  That has been remedied.  It may have been a week late, but it did not disappoint.

Peach Polenta Upside-Down Cake Slice

I made the Peach Polenta Upside Down Cake from Braisen Woman (a vegan site).  I followed the recipe as written, only making a substitution for the all-purpose flour.   In place of the all purpose flour, I used 3/8 cup sorghum flour, 1/8 cup tapioca starch, 1/4 cup arrowroot and 1/4 tsp xanthan gum.  If you don’t have an 1/8 cup, 1/8 cup=2 Tbsp.  My original intention was to try it without the xanthan, but the batter was too thin.  That 1/4 tsp really did make a huge difference.

That being said, this batter still seemed a little thin for a cake, but go with it.  The polenta swells up in cooking and it just works. The cake is moist and a little bit gritty.  Normally, I would consider gritty a bad thing in a cake, but when it’s coming from polenta, it is so far away from bad.  The cake is also sweet without being too sweet.  It would be a perfect addition to Saturday or Sunday brunch.

I don’t really know how else to say how good it is, so I’ll let this photo do the talking. I took a slice to my friend at work the other day.  She had not eaten it yet when I left.  When I returned to my desk the following morning, I found my plate just like this:

More Please!

That says it all.  I’ll definitely be making this one again.  I’m already thinking of variations :)

***********************************

For the original recipe, click on the image of my pin below

Pin of Peach Polenta Upside Down Cake