Stuff Wrap and Roll

Wrapping up: Apples in a Blanket and Vegan MoFo Comes to a Close

Wow!  It’s so hard to believe this month is over.

I didn’t get any questions from anyone on the blog the other day, but I’m still going to post this wrap-up interview style.  I’m just going to carry on both sides of the conversation.

What was your favorite sweet dish?
I liked all of them, and I can’t believe I’m not saying the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pillows, but I think my favorite was the Apple Butter Donut Holes

What was your favorite savory dish?
Easy.  The veggie calzone. It had that perfect Italian-y flavor that I miss most not being able to eat pizza, calzones, etc at most restaurants.

What new dishes are most likely to get added to the regular rotation?
The salad rolls are already in the rotation so they aren’t being added, but they’ll stay.  New things will probably be the Dragon Rolls (sans the tempura most of the time), the chickpea salad melt, MAT (mushroom, avocado, tomato) Lettuce Cups and Asian Style Jackfruit Lettuce Wraps.  Oh, and how could I almost forget the Breakfast Stuffed Apples?!

What did you learn that will be most helpful?
That I don’t always have to re-invent the wheel, or the dough in this case.  I made 3 different doughs this month with just little tiny tweeks of my standby pizza crust dough.

What did you learn that you probably didn’t need to know?
Frying isn’t as much trouble as I thought.

What dishes did you want to try that you just didn’t get to?
Eggrolls, stuffed pancakes and waffles, more sushi, more rice paper rolls, raw fajitas, zucchini boats… the list goes on.  And for some reason, I really wanted to try plum-rosemary hand pies.  Not sure why.  I’ve never heard of them.  They just sound good.

What kitchen failures did you encounter?
1. I tried to make ravioli 4 times. They looked lovely. They tasted awful.  I just couldn’t get the pasta dough right.  Even in my gluten filled days, I never made fresh pasta and don’t think I’d ever eaten fresh pasta.  So I just didn’t know what I was going for.  Sorry I forgot to take a picture.  The leftover green pea-kale pesto filling was pretty good, so I mixed it in some polenta and baked it in a cast iron pan.

2. Marshmallow for an attempt at s’more cookies.  I realized just as I put it on the stove that my thermometer didn’t go high enough to get the proper measurements and I apparently didn’t cook it quite long enough.

3. Onion Hushpuppy Crusted Hot Dogs.  Yep.  I attempted a soy-free, gluten-free vegan hot dog.   I realized after the fact that I had written the measurement of flours that I wanted to use down wrong and used way more than planned.  They looked and smelled fabulous.  They tasted…well…like flour.

Hushpuppy Crusted Hot Dog

But, if you already have a hot dog you can eat, the hushpuppy wrapping was great.  I used my regular hushpuppy recipe and patted it around the hot dogs. It works better if you wet your hands. 1 hushpuppy recipe was enough for about 4 hot dogs.  Fry it up until the batter is golden brown.  Onions are built in, so all I would need to do is have a little mustard for dipping.

4.  Cannoli.  The cream cheese chocolate chip filling tasted perfect, but was too thin.  I could have worked with that, but the dough was too heavy and dry.  Cannoli are supposed to be light and crispy.   I finally got the dough where I could roll and cut them out but then they continued to get drier and after the first 7 or 8, they were too dry to roll around the cannoli molds.  


5. Flour tortillas that are light and flexible.  Again, great flavor, too heavy a texture.  I’ll keep working on this one.

Where do you see your cooking and this blog going from here?
Well, I definitely need to lighten up on the frying and the dough.  Stuffed, wrapped and rolled food is good, but after a month it all starts to feel a bit heavy.  I’m looking forward to more soups, salads, fruits and vegetables.

I’m not really sure about the blog, but I’m thinking of a name change.  I also really want to see myself blog more regularly.  I’m thinking of a personal cookbook challenge, either using multiple cookbooks or cooking through a favorite giving gluten/soy subs.  Or a series of lighter, healthier dishes.

Any other closing thoughts as yet another Vegan MoFo wraps up?
MoFo was a lot more fun for me not expecting myself to do 7 posts a week.  I like the 5 posts a week goal.  Also, after having to quit last year with my dad’s cancer diagnosis and extended hospital stay, I had an emotional victory reaching my goal.  As always, I’m most thankful for the readers and your encouragement!

I just couldn’t wrap up the month without just one more little treat for Stuff, Wrap & Roll.  These Apples in a Blanket are lightly sweet with a little autumnal apple goodness

Apples in a Blanket

Apples in a Blanket

  • 1/2 cup garfava flour, plus more for working the dough
  • 6 Tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2  Tbsp gluten-free yeast
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water (around 110F)
  • 3/4 tsp canola oil
  • 3/4  tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 small gala apple, washed, cored and thinly sliced
  • Soy Free Earth Balance for Brushing
  • Sugar and Cinnamon for topping

Lightly oil/flour a cookie sheet/roasting pan (or use parchment paper) and set aside.

Add all dry ingredients (except sugar/cinnamon for topping) in a kitchen stand mixer with a dough hook or food processor with S blade and combine well.  Add in liquids and mix until a stiff dough forms.  Using your hands, gather all the dough together.  (At this point, it will probably be a blob)  The dough is  sticky so put a very small amount of garfava flour on the outside as you form it into a ball.   Let the dough sit on a small piece of parchment or waxed paper for about 25 minutes to let the yeast work a little magic.  It will get fluffy, but still be sticky.

Preheat oven to 375.

Prepare a small work surface with waxed paper or parchment paper. This space doesn’t need to be very large, just enough to put one “blanket” down at a time.  Keep a little bowl of extra garfava flour handy for working with the sticky dough.  You don’t want to work in more flour, just have enough to coat the outside of each little ball of dough.

Core & slice apple.  I used one of the corers that cuts an apple into wedges and then sliced each wedge into 4 slices.

Toss a little garfava flour onto the work surface.  Tear off a piece of dough and pat it down lightly into the flour, turn it over and pat it down into the flour again.  You just want enough to coat the dough so you can work with it.  Pat the dough down into a circle about 2½” in diamater and a little less than 1/4″ thick.  Put the circle on the workspace, put 2 apple slices in the middle and wrap the dough around it, being careful to push the edges together to form a strong seam.  (Otherwise, they’ll open up when they bake.  They still taste good, but not quite as pretty).  Put on prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough and apples.

Melt about 1 Tbsp of soy free Earth Balance.  Using a pastry brush, brush a thin layer on top of each apple in a blanket (including the apple that’s sticking out the ends).

Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until edges and bottom are golden brown.

In a ziploc bag, add sugar and cinnamon (6 Tbsp sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon).  2-4 at a time depending on the size of your bag.  (I did 3 in a quart bag).  Shake bag to coat each apple in a blanket.  Repeat until all are coated.

And with that, goodbye Vegan MoFo 2013.



Buffalo Chickpea Ranch Enchiladas

I don’t have a cute story or any kind of memory that goes along with this post. The truth is I haven’t had as much hot sauce this month as usual and I wanted some. After four (yes, four!) failed attempts at making homemade gluten-free ravioli, I decided to scrap the idea and go for something just because I wanted it.  Buffalo sauce was the answer. Here’s what I came up with.

And, because nothing with Buffalo Sauce is quite complete without a crunchy vegetable side, I made a broccoli ranch slaw to go with it.  Celery and carrot sticks would work too.

Buffalo Chickpea Ranch Enchiladas

Buffalo Chickpea Ranch Enchiladas

(makes 7)

This isn’t a saucy enchilada.  The tomato sauce actually cooks up to almost dry on the outside.  I didn’t want the tomato to overpower the Buffalo taste.  For me the filling and the ranch used for serving made it plenty moist. But, if you want more sauce, use it :)

I made this with Texas Pete Hot Sauce because it’s the one I always have in my kitchen. It just has a lovely flavor without being super hot.  The company that makes it gives it a 2 pepper (out of 5) heat rating.  Feel free to use others, but check for your desired amount of heat.

7 corn tortillas
1½ cups cooked chickpeas (equiv to a 15-16 oz can)
3 Tbsp soy-free Earth Balance
8 Tbsp Texas Pete hot sauce, divided
3 Tbsp tomato paste
3/8 cup water
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1/4 tsp salt
Vegan ranch for serving (I used the Ranch here on the blog)
Sliced green onions for garnish

Preheat oven to 350F

In a small saucepan, melt Earth Balance and stir in  6 Tbsp Texas Pete Hot Sauce.  Remove from heat.

In a small mixing bowl, mix the chickpeas and the Earth Balance/Hot Sauce mixture.  Using a fork, mash about 1/2 the chickpeas.  Set aside.

In another small bowl, mix tomato paste, water, the remaining 2 Tbps Texas Pete, salt and garlic.

Put 1/4 cup of the tomato based sauce in the bottom of a 7×9 casserole dish and spread evenly.

If you’re using store bought tortillas or homemade that aren’t still warm, they’ll need to be warmed up to get some flexibility.  I used store bought tortillas so I put them in a damp kitchen towel in the microwave until they were flexible enough (45 seconds to a minute) Put some of the chickpea mixture on a tortilla (at a little closer to you than the middle of the tortilla).  Roll the tortilla and place in the casserole dish seam side down.  Repeat with remaining tortillas

Top with remaining tomato sauce and bake 25-30 minutes.

Place desired number of enchiladas on a plate and drizzle with ranch.  Top with green onions.  Serve immediately.  (because they aren’t real saucy, at least with the store bought tortillas, they started to crack when cooled.  Still in tact, just not as pretty)

Broccoli Ranch Slaw

3 cups Broccoli Slaw mix
4 Tbsp vegan ranch

Mix the slaw mix and the ranch together in a medium size mixing bowl until all the slaw is coated.  Chill until ready to serve.

If your grocery doesn’t carry broccoli slaw mix, it’s basically just shredded broccoli stalks and carrots.  I think even shredded cabbage would be good instead of broccoli.



Preparing to Wrap Up Vegan MoFo

Hi all!  Can you believe it’s almost time for the end of another Vegan MoFo?  It went by so fast and I had so much fun.

There is another (or 2 or 3) food post coming your way before the end of the month, but I was thinking about wrap up.  At the end of mofo, I like to do a post about things that have stood out to me through the month, things I’ve learned, etc.

I’m still planning on doing that, but I want to open it up to you to participate in the planning of the post.

So, if you have any questions you want to ask me about my Stuff, Wrap and Roll adventures, post them here.  If you have any comments or things that stood out to you throughout the month, post those here too.



Happy Birthday, John Chapman: Apple Butter Donut Holes

So, you don’t know who John Chapman is? If you’re from the US, you probably learned about him in school by the name of the folk hero Johnny Appleseed. Chapman was a practicing vegetarian who is credited with establishing many apple orchards as the American frontier expanded. You can read more about him on

Chapman’s planting wasn’t as random or goodhearted as the legendary character Johnny Appleseed. It was for profit and making of apple based alcoholic beverages rather than growing tasty apples for mamas baking pies or for kids to give to teachers. But, I’m still thankful that he planted orchards that would eventually lead to the orchards we have today that provide fujis, galas, jonagolds, granny smiths, and many other delicious varieties of apples.

I discovered the other day that I had a little jar of apple butter hiding in my pantry. It was the last of several I had gotten from a friend of mine. There was also a set of pastry bags/decorator tips that my sister gave me that had not been used yet. In that set was a bismarck tip (used for filling). I had been wanting donuts. All of those together led to the birth of the apple butter donut hole.

Although I’ve lived most of my life in the homeland of the yeasted Krispy Kreme Doughnut, my donut loyalty will always lie with the heavier cake donuts of my early childhood. Naturally, I thought of the lovely sugar covered mini donuts from the even lovelier Cara of Fork and Beans. She kindly granted me permission to repost with my changes.

The only change I made in the dough itself was I switched to canola from coconut oil. I figured why waste the more expensive coconut oil if I was just going to turn around and fry it in canola anyway.

While these are technically “filled” and not stuffed, I hope their sugary goodness will convince you that they belong in the Stuff, Wrap and Roll series. If not, just ignore me. I’ll be in the corner polishing them off.

Apple Butter Donut Holes

Apple Butter Donut Holes

(makes 16)

For Donuts:

    • 1/2 c. sorghum flour
    • 1/2 c. Brown rice flour
    • 1/4 c. potato starch (not flour!)
    • 1/4 c. arrowroot powder
    • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 c. brown sugar
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
    • 1/2 c. buttermilk (1/2 Tb apple cider vinegar + 1/2 c. almond milk)
    • 1 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer + 2 Tbs warm water, mixed til frothy
    • 1/4 c. canola oil + more for frying
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For Filling:

    • 1/2 cup (+/-) apple butter

For Topping

  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used organic evaporated cane juice)
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon


  1. Mix dry ingredients for donuts together until fully combined.
  2. Make a well in the center of the bowl. Add all the remainder of wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just incorporated.
  3. Roll into 16 equal sized balls
  4. Heat about 1/2″ to 3/4″ oil in a large skillet to medium high heat (about 375F if you’re checking the temp)
  5. In small batches, fry donut holes until golden brown. Since that’s not enough oil to completely cover them, they’ll need to be turned halfway through. Total cooking time is about 2-2½ minutes.
  6. Remove from skillet and put on paper towel lined plate.
  7. After all donuts have been cooked and are cooled enough to handle, using a pastry bag with the apple butter in it and a bismarck tip (filling tip, I used Wilton 230), put a hole in one side of the donut and squeeze apple butter into the donut until it starts to come back out of the hole. I found this easier if I put the donut hole down on a plate. When it is properly filled, you will see the donut hole become a bit larger and will also probably see tiny oil droplets being pushed out of the sides of the donut. Wipe off any excess apple butter from the outside of the donut hole.
  8. After all have been filled, fill a large zipper bag with 1/2 cup sugar and 1 Tbsp cinnamon. Shake to mix. Then working in batches of 3 or 4, shake donut holes in the cinnamon-sugar mixture until well coated. Place on a plate and serve. Or eat them straight out of the bag 😉

Note: My apple butter was homemade and possibly not as thick as some store bought ones. If your apple butter is too thick to go through the tip easily, I suspect adding a bit of apple juice or water would take care of that.

Reality check: This was my first time filling any kind of baked goods. So they weren’t all as full as the one cut open in the picture. Some had more. Some had almost none. That one was about average. There’s a learning curve. Be patient with yourself :)

On this, the 239th anniversary of your birth, I appreciate you, Johnny Appleseed.

Happy Birthday, Johnny Appleseed




Lemon Raspberry Crepes with Chocolate Almond Spread

I was going to try to come up with a clever name for this post then I decided, with a name like that who needs to be clever?

I remember going for my first crepe.  It was in this quaint little creperie in Marrakech.  I was there visiting friends, and this was one of their no-miss places for my visit.  In case you’re not familiar with the city of Marrakech, it’s the 4th largest city in Morocco.  So, no, I didn’t go to Europe for my first crepe.  I went to Africa.  Probably not something many Americans say. In fact, I still haven’t been to Europe, but I digress.

Morocco has heavy influences from both Spain and France.  In fact, her language of business is French.  So, it’s really not a big surprise that the French gentleman who owned La Creperie de Marrakech felt like it would be a good home for his restaurant. La Creperie is complete with a nautical theme and a resident parrot.

La Creperie De Marrakech

That was in 2006. I’ve tried to make a couple different versions of crepes over the years, and they were decent. But I had forgotten just how light they are supposed to be until I went to Bar Suzette on my trip to NYC this summer

So, I decided to rework my current crepe recipe to see if I could get the crepe to be lighter and have that little crispy edge.  These are exactly what I was going for.

Lemon Raspberry Crepe with Chocolate Almond Spread

I used the sweet lemon crepe recipe from Vegonomicon. (The basic crepe recipe is in Vegan Brunch too)  Thanks to Isa Chandra Moskowitz for granting me permission to include the whole recipe here with my changes.

If you don’t have or don’t like raspberries, strawberry slices would be a good alternative to raspberries.

Lemon Raspberry Crepes with Chocolate Almond Spread

(makes 6 crepes, 9.5-10″ in diameter)

  • 1½ cups unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup chickpea flour (garbanzo bean flour, besan)
  • ¼ cup brown rice flour
  • ¼ cup sorghum flour
  • ¼ cup + 1 Tbsp tapioca starch/flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • Zest from one small lemon (approximately 1 tsp)
  • Juice from one small lemon (½ tsp for crepe batter, reserve the rest for serving)
  • Soy Free Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine), softened, for prepping the pan
  • 6 oz package of fresh raspberries
  • 3/4 cup (+/-) Chocolate Almond Spread (recipe below)
  • Powdered sugar, for garnish
  • 6 Enjoy Life Mega Chunks (or other vegan, soy-free, gluten-free chocolate), optional, for garnish

Combine the almond milk, water, flours, salt, sugar, lemon zest and 1/2 tsp lemon juice in a food processor or blender. Blend for a few seconds, scraping the sides of the blender once, until everything is smooth. The batter will be very thin.  Pour into an airtight container, cover, and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or as long as overnight.  When ready to cook the crepes, briefly stir the batter if the ingredients have separated.

Over medium heat (original recipe said medium-high, but using my cast iron griddle in place of a crepe pan, that was too hot and the crepes were sticking despite being well greased with the margarine…you’ll get the feel for what works for your pan/stove), heat a 9-10 inch crepe pan or heavy skillet.  The pan is ready when a few drops of water flicked into it sizzle.  Dab a silicone brush into softened margarine and brush along the bottom and sides of pan.

Ladle 1/3 cup of batter into the center of the pan. (Use more if you have a bigger pan.  This amount worked for my 10″ griddle pan).  The batter should sizzle when it hits the pan.  Holding the pan firmly by the handle, use your wrist to tilt the pan in a circular motion so that the batter spreads in a thin layer across the bottom.  Continue to tilt the pan until the batter is fully spread and then sets.

Cook until the top of the crepe is dry, the center is bubbly, and edges appear firm and lightly browned when gently lifted with the spatula, 1 to 1½ minutes. (Use a long thin metal spatula like you use for frosting cakes, not a “pancake turner” spatula).  Gently run the spatula under the crepe to loosen it, then carefully flip and cook on the other side for 30 seconds.  Gently slide the crepe onto a regular size dinner plate.

Brush a little more margarine onto the crepe pan for the next crepe.  If bits of batter collect on the pan, or the pan seems too oily, quickly swirl a crumpled paper towel across the surface of the pan to remove the crumbs.  Cook the rest of the crepes, stacking one on top of another (often it’s easiest just to slide the flipped crepe directly onto the stack).

Put approximately 2 Tbsp of the chocolate almond spread down the center of each crepe.  Top with a line of fresh raspberries.

Filling the crepe with Chocolate Almond Spread and Raspberries

Fold over on side of the crepe and then the other.  (I folded it a little tighter to serve than it looks in the picture.  I just did it like that so you could see the inside.)  Drizzle the top with some fresh lemon juice, then dust with powdered sugar (I use a fine mesh sieve to apply the sugar).  If desired, grate one of the mega chunks of chocolate over each crepe.

Garnished Crepe

Chocolate Almond Spread

(makes 1 cup)

  • 1 cup slivered almonds*
  • 4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/8 cup sugar

Put everything in a food processor outfitted with an S-blade and process until you have a smooth nut butter consistency, about 10 minutes

*The almonds can be toasted or untoasted.  If they’re toasted, I taste more almond.  If they’re untoasted, I taste more chocolate.  So try it both ways and see how you like it.



Just in case you want a little taste of Marrakech, here are a few photos from my trip:

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Plantain-Kale Empanadas

The first (and I think the last) time I had empanadas was about 10 years ago. They were made by a Venezuelan grandma.  It was after church on Sunday night, and she was in town visiting her family who were still relatively new in the community.  They invited about 20 of us over for empanadas.  It’s still amazing to me how she was able to just keep hot empanadas coming out.

I promise the fact that the family became dear friends has nothing to do with that empanada party.  But, it did make me want to learn to make them myself.  For some reason, I never tried until now.


I used this empanada tutorial.  The recipe for the corn-based dough is on the pdf attached to the tutorial (at the bottom of her page).  It’s very similar to the dough and tutorial in Viva Vegan!  Be sure to use the Columbian/Venezuelan masarepa and not tortilla masa harina.

I opted for using my tortilla press instead of rolling out the dough.  I think either would work, but the tortilla press made it pretty easy work.   Also, the tip about using a bowl to seal off the edges of the empanada instead of doing it by hand/with a fork…brilliant!  Every empanada was perfectly sealed.  Plus it gave me enough extra dough to make up three extra empanadas which I filled with mozzarella style Daiya.  I ended up with a few ooey gooey cheesy empanadas that would be perfect with a bowl of tomato soup.

For frying, I put about 1/2-3/4″ in a large cast iron skillet.  It wasn’t enough to cover the empanadas, but since you turn them over anyway, it worked great.  They took about 3 minutes on the first side to reach golden and 1-2 minutes on the second side (each batch got a little shorter as the oil heated up).  The Daiya-only empanadas took about 1/2 the time.

For the main batch of empanadas, I made up my own filling of plantains and kale.  I’m posting it here, because it was good. But, I’d change it up some next time.  Without the dipping sauce it was a little bit dry.  I think I would like it better with more kale and onions and fewer plantains.  I would probably also cut the plantains into a finer dice.  (I’d also like to try a lightly spicy jackfruit version…yummmm)

I was pretty careful not to overfill so the empanadas didn’t tear open.  I used a scant tablespoon,  but I think they could have stood just a little more filling.  That would have been easier to do with the smaller diced plantains and more of the flexible kale.

Plantain-Kale Empanada Filling

2 tsp oil
1/4 cup finely diced onions
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
2 ripe plantains, diced
2 cups finely chopped kale (stems removed)
3/8 cup water

In a large skillet, on medium heat, saute the onions in the oil until onions are translucent, about 7 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute more until garlic starts to brown.  Add plantains.  Continue to saute, stirring regularly, until plantains are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Stir in kale and add water.  Cook just until water has cooked off and kale is wilted, 1-2 minutes.  When the water is gone, if the kale has not yet wilted, just add a little extra water and continue cooking until it is.

Dipping Sauce

I used a little maple syrup thinned out with water and Chipotle Tabasco sauce to taste.  It doesn’t take much of the sauce to make a great sweet-hot punch.

If you’d like to see some more Latin food goodness, check out Newman Improved’s Vegan MoFo posts for this year and Cupcake Kitteh’s cooking through Viva Vegan!



Asian Style Jackfruit Lettuce Wraps


Check that out.  It looks just like those fancy chicken lettuce wraps at P.F. Chang’s, doesn’t it?  Don’t let the looks fool you.  That right there is a jackfruit lettuce wrap.

Back in my pre-vegan days, I did have the PF Chang’s wraps a few times.  I remember liking them, but I really don’t remember exactly what they tasted like.  If this isn’t it, they’re missing out.

My only complaints: The iceberg lettuce was a little too crispy and broke easily so I think I’d switch to romaine next time.  And the special sauce was a little thin, so I think I’d dip instead of pour.

Overall though, this was a complete success.

I followed this copycat recipe for the P.F. Chang’s wraps.

Here are a few notes on what I did differently:

  1. I cooked on medium high heat instead of high
  2. I used one can (1 lb, 4oz) of jackfruit* in place of the chicken. Be sure to rinse the jackfruit well to get all the brine taste out.  It comes out of the can in little wedges.  Leave them like that for now. The jackfruit pieces only had to cook 3-4 minutes per side.  They were golden brown and started to shrink up a little bit.  It was almost disturbingly chicken-like.
  3. I used coconut aminos anywhere soy sauce was called for.
  4. I used Sriracha in place of the red chile paste because I couldn’t find one without soybean oil.
  5. As suggested in the directions (but not clear in the ingredient list), I added the Sriracha and hot mustard to taste instead of the measurements given.
  6. I used green onions in place of the onions just because I wanted to.
  7. I didn’t bother measuring the mushrooms or water chestnuts.  I just chopped up the mushrooms I had (which was probably too much for the original recipe) and the whole small can of water chestnuts.
  8. The recipe didn’t specify what kind of oil to use.  I chose peanut oil because of its lovely taste and its tolerance to high temperature.
  9. The recipe wasn’t very clear at the beginning about whether it was 3 tablespoons of oil to start with and then add another Tbsp or if it was 2 and then add the third.  I started with 2 and added a third.  It was plenty.
  10. I don’t like leaving oil on the stove for very long without something in it, so I chopped up all the vegetables while the jackfruit was cooking and cut the jackfruit while still warm.

Just in case you couldn’t see the texture of that jackfruit well enough, check this out…

Jackfruit Mixture Upclose

If I hadn’t cooked this myself, I would be hesitant to believe it was meatless.

Despite the fact that I’d seen other uses of jackfruit flying around the internet over the last few years, for some reason I was nervous to use it.  I even bought a can long enough ago that it expired and had to be thrown out.

As it turns out, it is delicious and super easy to cook.  It may have been my first use, but it definitely won’t be my last.  I see an eastern NC style BBQ sandwich in my future.

*In case you aren’t familiar with jackfruit, it’s an Asian fruit.  I found it canned at one of our bigger Asian markets in the area.  Just be sure for “meaty” applications you get the green (or young) jackfruit in brine instead of the jackfruit in syrup.  After it’s cooked, you can either cut it with a knife or pull it with a fork.  I used a knife so I could chop up the harder core pieces.  They’re totally edible too if they’re cut up.  Those ended up being little pieces and the rest shredded as i cut.



Fig-Cashew “Goat Cheese”-Spinach Pinwheels

I’m so glad that this year Vegan MoFo is in September so that I could catch the end of fig season.  One of my favorite salads is spinach, topped with tangy “goat cheese”, sliced figs and a sweet red wine vinaigrette.  I wanted to see how I could combine some of those flavors in slightly different way.

This is actually one of the first things I attempted this month, but for some reason I have been putting off posting.  Procrastination stops here.

I’ll tell you up front that the dough was a little harder to work with than average, but the final result was well worth it.

Mildly sweet, mildly tangy, and dare I say, buttery.  These pinwheels give you something a little different with every bite.

Fig-Cashew "Goat Cheese" - Spinach Pinwheels | Veg-am

Fig – Cashew “Goat Cheese” – Spinach Pinwheels

The Filling:

Prepare ahead the Vegetarian Times “Goat Cheese”: Do steps 1 and 2 as written.  Follow step 3 up until the point of aging time.  About 5 hours is enough here as long as it doesn’t still have liquid dripping out (mine usually only has a couple drops drain out anyway).  No need to chill or bake.

Mix the “goat cheese”, spinach and almond milk.  Set aside.

Wash and thinly slice the figs.  Set aside.

The Dough:

  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp Garfava Flour
  • 3/4 cup Tapioca Starch
  • 2 tsp Gluten-Free Yeast
  • 1/2 Tbsp Xanthan Gum
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 3/4 cup Warm Water (about 110F)
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

In a stand mixer with a dough hook or a food processor with an s-blade, mix the dry ingredients.  Mix the wet ingredients and add to dry.  Mix/process until it starts to form a ball.  Remove from processor/mixer and set out to rise 20-30 minutes.  The dough will be sticky.  If you’ve done a lot of gluten-filled baking, it will seem that it’s too sticky and you should add more flour.  Don’t be tempted to do that.  This is harder to work with, but more flour will make it heavy and dry.

The Pinwheels:

Preheat the oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To roll out the dough, you’ll need a wax paper working area.  Flour it well (use the garfava). Also do a dusting of flour on the ball of dough, your hands and your rolling pin.  As you roll out the dough, you will get some stickiness from the inside dough.  Sprinkle a little flour there too if it’s starting to stick to your pin.  Evenly roll out into a rectangle 1/8 thick.  (Sorry – I forgot to measure it, but I think it was about 12×14)

Spread the “cheese”-spinach mixture evenly across the dough.  (Don’t go all the way to back edge or it will squirt out when you roll it.  If that happens though, no big deal, just wipe it away with a paper towel. )

Evenly distribute the fig slices on top of the spinach mixture.

Using the wax paper, working from the long side of the dough, lift and roll toward the filling.  Peel the wax paper off the portion of the dough that has been rolled (this is where that initial flouring step is important).  Then continue rolling/peeling the wax paper off until you have completely rolled the dough up jelly roll style.

Slice the roll in about 3/4″ slices.  Place each slice on the parchment lined cookie sheet.  Because the dough doesn’t seem that substantial and the filling is a bit runny, you may need to shape the pinwheels with your hands a bit once you get it on the parchment.  (I honestly thought at this point that they mightn’t turn out as they were a bit flimsy)

Bake at 425F for 22-25 minutes until golden brown and filling set.  Let it cool a few minutes and then serve warm.




Breakfast Stuffed Apples

I love breakfast.  One of my favorites in recent days has been a cooked grain or pseudo-grain.  I especially enjoy buckwheat*.  If you’ve only had buckwheat pancakes or something else from buckwheat flour, you haven’t really had buckwheat.  When you cook buckwheat from the toasted groats, they have a mild, slightly nutty taste instead of the more intense flavor of the flour. I like to put cooked buckwheat in a bowl with fruit, nuts and some almond milk and eat it as “cereal”.  I prefer cold, but warm buckwheat cereal is good too.

The problem is, I often don’t leave myself the time to sit down to eat a bowl of cereal and need to take my breakfast to work with me.  Smoothies are good for that.  Unlike most people, I’ll eat anything for breakfast that I’ll eat any other time of day so even leftovers from last night’s dinner are good for that .  But, I do get to missing my buckwheat cereal.   I decided to figure out a way to make it to go.

Breakfast Stuffed Apple

Breakfast Stuffed Apples

Makes 4 apple halves, 2-4 servings

  • 2 large Granny Smith Apples
  • 2 Tbsp Almond Butter
  • 1 tsp Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tbsp Almond Milk
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup cooked buckwheat
  • 2 Tbps Coconut Flakes
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped Walnuts
  • 1½-2 tsp Coconut Oil, melted

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with foil.

In a large bowl, whisk together the almond butter, maple syrup, almond milk, cinnamon and nutmeg until well blended.  It doesn’t have to be completely smooth, but you don’t want clumps of almond butter.  Set aside.

Wash the apples and remove stem.  Cut in half vertically.  Using a metal spoon, (and the help of a paring knife if necessary) remove the seeds and the hard core and discard.  Use a paring knife to cut off the calyx* (that little thing on the bottom of the apple where it was attached to the blossom) and discard.  Then using the metal spoon, dig out the flesh of the apple,  leaving a rim around the edges and not going too close to the outside wall.  Because of the shape of the apple, there will be thicker chunks where the stem/calyx were, but that works out fine.

Stuffed Apple Shell

Chop the removed apple flesh and add it, along with the buckwheat, into the almond butter mixture.  Stir until well combined and coated.  Fold in the coconut, cranberries, walnuts.

Using a spoon or your hands, put the buckwheat mixture in the cavity of the apples and lightly pack it even with the rim of the apples.  Then use the remaining buckwheat mixture to go back and round off the top of the stuffing.

Brush a thin layer of coconut oil over the stuffing and the cut edges of the apples.

Put apples on baking sheet (stuffing side up) and bake until apples are soft-crisp, about 20 minutes.  The thicker parts might still have a little crunch to them.  Serve warm.

If you want breakfast to go for the next morning, let the apples cool, wrap them in foil and put in the refrigerator.  I would expect they would warm up fine in the microwave (remove the foil!)  or oven, but I haven’t tried them warmed over. I ate it cold this morning. Since I like my apple pie cold too, it was reminiscent of a piece of pie.  For breakfast.  Yes, please.

A few things to note:

1. Even though I made the apples to go, these are not eat-while-I’m-driving to go. They’re a bit too unpredictable as to whether the stuffing will stay in place when you bite into it for that.  It stayed in place better cold than warm.  But, either way, it’s more of an eat-at-my-desk-when-I-get-to-work kind of to go.

2. If not all of the coconut oil soaked in while baking, there may be a couple little chunks of that on top.  I’m fine with it, but If that bothers you, by all means, warm it up.
3. These are only mildly sweet.  If you have a sweet tooth and want to kick up the sweet a couple notches, just add a little extra maple syrup in the almond butter mixture or drizzle it over the top of the apple right before eating.

* Buckwheat is not related to wheat at all. Despite how it sounds, it is gluten free.
**Yes, I had to google the word calyx.  I had no idea what that thing was called.



A Post Full of Firsts: Dragon Roll and Tempura Vegetables

No series on “Stuff, Wrap, and Roll” would be complete without vegetable sushi.  I always like to try new things during Vegan MoFo and this post is full of firsts.  This was my first attempt at making a dragon roll. In fact, it was my first attempt at making sushi with the rice on the outside.  My first attempt at tempura. It was even my first time eating tempura.  And it was my first time using Sriracha.

Dragon Roll and Tempura Vegetables | Veg-am

I used this tutorial as a guide. (warning: not vegan).  The tutorial was for a tempura shrimp dragon roll.  I chose to go with a tempura zucchini roll and changed up the other fillings too.  Since this was my first time making dragon rolls, instead of giving a recipe, I’m going to walk through what did and didn’t work.

When given the option, I usually like the  bad news first, so I’ll go through what didn’t work so well first.  As you can see by the fact that I actually did make dragon rolls and tempura vegetables, none was a total failure.

What didn’t work quite right:

The rice.  When I was first learning about rolling my own sushi, I searched all over the internet for how to make sushi using brown basmati.  What I found was a lot of people who said it was impossible because basmati wasn’t sticky enough.  I concluded that these people had just never been as inept at cooking rice as I used to be.  I know how to make sticky basmati (don’t turn the heat down enough and just keep adding enough water to keep it from sticking).  This works just fine for sushi where you have the nori on the outside.  It wasn’t ideal for dragon rolls (a little too sticky), so next time I might actually use real sushi rice.

My confidence level:  The tutorial said that it’s ideal to use just half sheets of nori for a dragon roll.  It further said that if you were a beginner start with 3/4 sheet or a whole sheet.  Surely, I could work with a half sheet.  As you can see in the photo of the single piece of roll above, I didn’t have a perfect seal.  So, I probably should have started with a bit more.

My cutting skills or my knives:  I had a little bit of a hard time cutting through the plastic wrap and the crispy tempura shell of the zucchini.  I could cut them, but I was squishing the roll out of shape doing it.  This may not have been as much of an issue if the two things above had been perfect.

What did work:

The fillings:  I used finely chopped red cabbage & carrots and strips of tempura zucchini.  I really liked this combination.  The finely chopped vegetables, as you can see, were a little hard to keep contained so a little got on the outside of the roll, so I may try shredded pieces next time, but I really liked the texture of this while eating.  Maybe I should just be more careful 😉  More on the tempura later.

Dragon Roll Fillings | Veg-am

The rolling: As I mentioned above, I probably should have used the larger pieces of nori.  But, the bamboo mat lined with cling wrap worked wonderfully for rolling and shaping. It peeled right off of even my too-sticky rice. The advice to have a bowl of water to dip your fingers in was brilliant.  I didn’t bother adding vinegar to the water bowl.  Just water worked fine.

The avocado:
I thought rolling the avocado on the outside of the dragon roll was going to be the hardest part. With a perfectly ripe avocado and the instructions provided, it was actually one of the easiest.  It does need to be a pretty perfect avocado: soft enough to be flexible, but not the least bit mushy.  If you’re looking to impress, this is a pretty fancy looking result for such an easy process.

The dipping sauces: I used two sauces.  First was an Asian sweet chili sauce straight from the bottle.  I really like the sweet with a touch of hot for the roll.  Second sauce was a Sriracha mayo. There was a recipe on the tutorial site, but all I did was take some soy-free Vegenaise and add Sriracha until it was the perfect level of heat for me. This spicy, creamy dip was perfect for the tempura veggies on the side.  I made a much less hot version of the Sriracha mayo for my mom.

The Tempura:  Oh yes, the tempura.  I was a little hesitant about this part as I decided to go with other information I found in several places that you could make tempura out of just rice flour and sparkling water.  Yes, just two ingredients. Both vegan.  Both gluten and soy free.  How often does that happen?

The recipe on the tutorial had baking powder and eggs, but I decided to try the simpler route.  Everything I saw on using rice flour was talking specifically about sweet rice flour.  I had brown rice flour (no shock for a gluten free person, eh?).  And I’m not a huge fan of brown rice flour all alone as it tends toward being gritty.  Thankfully, this post on making tempura veggies had good pictures demonstrating the perfect thickness for batter.  I ended up needing more water to rice than with the sweet rice flour (no surprise there).

Brown Rice Flour Tempura Vegetables

1-1/4 cup brown rice flour
1-1/3 cup cold sparkling water
Whatever vegetables you want – I used onions cut in half-moon “strips” and zucchini sticks
Cornstarch for coating vegetables
Oil for frying (I used canola)

Preheat your oil for frying (most sites say around 375, but since I did it in a pan and didn’t check the temperature – I’ll just say medium high heat.).  Tempura is traditionally a deep frying method, but I didn’t want to use the deep fryer.  I used a large cast iron skillet with about 1″ to 1.5″ of oil in it.  I ended up turning the vegetables over, but it worked great.  My skillet is actually bigger in diameter than my deep fryer, so I think it was faster and it was easier to watch.

Mix up the flour and sparkling water in a small bowl with a whisk.  You can add seasonings if you wish because it’s bland.  (For the zucchini to go in the roll, I used it as is.  For the onions, I added a little salt and cayenne pepper.)

In a large bowl, put a small amount of cornstarch – add in your vegetables and toss to coat.  This just helps the batter to stick.

One at a time, coat your vegetable pieces with batter and carefully place into the oil.  Don’t overcrowd the vegetables.  I have a 14″ skillet and did 7-9 pieces at a time.  Overcrowding will lower the temperature of the oil.  Hot oil is important as it allows your vegetables to float (and not stick) and they absorb less oil.  Cook until golden brown.  Remove onto a plate lined with paper towels.

One little tip that I gleaned from the dragon roll post (the shrimp tempura recipe) was if you want a better “restaurant style” coating for your tempura…use a metal spoon and drizzle a little more batter over each vegetable in the skillet after it’s been frying for a few seconds.  It works :)

With hot oil and the lightness the sparkling soda gave, the zucchini here (and the onions above) are not saturated with oil and have a light crispy coating.

Tempura Zucchini | Veg-am

All in all, I’d say sushi and tempura night was a success.  Some of it worked perfectly.  Some of it, I figured out better ways to do it next time.  All of it tasted delicious.

I shared with my mom again.  She said she’s starting to feel spoiled with all the good Vegan MoFo eats.  I told her not to get used to it. 😉




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