Supreme Sour Cream (Cultured Non-Dairy)

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Rich, tangy and velvety smooth, this recipe yields about 2 cups of the finest cultured sour cream. Although extremely easy to prepare, a high-powered blender is recommended for producing the smoothest texture.

Ingredients
• 1 and ½ cup (7.5 oz by weight) whole raw cashews
• ¾ cup filtered or spring water
• ½ tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
• 2 non-dairy probiotic capsules*

*If possible, choose non-dairy probiotic capsules that offer several strains of Lactobacillus bacteria, as well as beneficial Streptococcus thermophilus and Bifidobacterium strains. This will create a more complex sour cream flavor than using Lactobacillus acidophilus alone.

Preparation
Soak the cashews for a minimum of 8 hours with enough filtered or spring water to cover (refrigeration is not needed unless soaking time exceeds 8 hours). Drain the cashews, discarding the soaking water, and add them to the blender.
Add the ¾ cup fresh water and the salt.

Process the contents until completely smooth, stopping to stir or scrape down the sides of blender as necessary. Add the contents of the probiotic capsules and process briefly to blend.

Transfer the mixture to a roomy container with a lid and cover. The cream may develop an “airy” texture and expand during culturing. This is caused by the release of carbon dioxide gas during fermentation and is perfectly normal. Every 12 hours or so, burp the lid of the container to release carbon dioxide.

Let the cream culture at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours or until the desired level of tanginess is achieved. Do not heat the mixture in a yogurt maker or similar device in an attempt to accelerate the process. This will alter the starch in the cashews and adversely affect the texture. Warm room temperatures will accelerate the culturing process, and cooler room temperatures will slow the process, so taste test after 24 hours and then every 12 hours after that. Viability of the probiotic culture can also affect culturing time, so be sure to use a fresh product that has been stored in the refrigerator.

After culturing, stir the sour cream thoroughly. Seal the container and place in the refrigerator to chill for 8 hours to thicken properly before using.


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German Spätzle featuring Vegan Eggz Essentials

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Spätzle, which literally translates as “little sparrows”, are noodle-like German dumplings (the more compact form are called Knöpfle, meaning “small buttons”). This recipe utilizes Vegan Eggz Essentials as a replacement for eggs, which in turn produces very light and tender dumplings. Vegan Eggs Essentials is my own product available exclusively through ModernistPantry.com. Other recipes utilizing this product can be found in my Vegan Eggz Essentials digital cookbook available here on my website.

To form the Spätzle, you can use a traditional Spätzle maker or a Spätzle press. If you don’t have either device, a food mill or a standard colander with holes (not slots) will work too. This recipe yields 2 generous servings to 4 side servings.

Dry Ingredients
• 1 cup all-purpose flour

Liquid Ingredients
• 1 cup plain unsweetened soymilk or almond milk
• 2 tsp nutritional yeast flakes
• 1 and ½ tsp Vegan Eggz Essentials A
• ½ tsp Vegan Eggz Essentials B
• ½ tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
• ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
• ⅛ tsp ground white pepper

Finishing Ingredients
• 1 to 2 T non-dairy butter or margarine
• sea salt or kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper to taste
• 2 T optional garnish, such as chopped green onion or minced chives, fresh chopped parsley and/or chopped fresh dill

Preparation
Bring about 3 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Add two teaspoons of salt.

Spray the Spätzle maker or press on both sides, including the little basket with cooking oil spray. If using a colander, spray the interior and exterior bottom of the basket. Set aside.

While the water is coming to a boil, add the flour to a mixing bowl. Process the liquid ingredients in a blender for 20 seconds. Add the liquid mixture to the flour and whisk until a smooth and thick batter consistency is achieved. To thin the batter if desired, add small amounts of additional milk.

If using a Spätzle maker, rest it over the pot of boiling water. Spoon the batter into the basket and slide the basket back and forth to drop bits of batter into the water.

If using a press, add the mixture to the basket and gently press the batter, in increments, into the water. If using a colander, hold the basket handle with an oven mitt to protect from steam burns and press and scrape the batter through the holes in the bottom of the basket with a flexible spatula.

Cook the dumplings about 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or Chinese spider skimmer to collect the dumplings and place them in a bowl.
Transfer the dumplings to a colander in the sink and give them a light rinse; drain well.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 to 2 tablespoons non-dairy butter or margarine. Add the Spätzle to the skillet and toss thoroughly until heated through. Season with salt and black pepper to taste, transfer to a serving bowl and garnish as desired; serve immediately.


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Jellied Port Wine Cranberry Sauce

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dsc02090-001A whole-fruit jellied cranberry sauce made with organic sugar (commercial jellied sauce is typically made with corn syrup) and flavored with Port wine or pomegranate juice – or try fresh orange juice for a citrus flavor.

Ingredients
• 1 bag (12 oz) whole fresh cranberries
• 1 cup organic sugar
• ½ cup water
• ½ cup Port wine or pomegranate juice or fresh orange juice
• 1 and ¼ tsp agar powder

Special Supplies
• flexible silicone mold that will hold 2 cups liquid (such as used in non-dairy cheese making)
• blender

Preparation
Place the silicone mold on a small plate.

Examine the cranberries and remove any stray stems. Rinse them and place in a medium saucepan (reserve a few cranberries for garnish if desired). Sprinkle the sugar over the cranberries and the agar powder over the sugar.

Add the wine (or juice) and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You may hear the berries audibly pop as they cook. Watch the cooking pot so the mixture doesn’t boil over.

Transfer the hot mixture to a blender. Cover and begin blending on low speed gradually increasing to high for 1 minute. If your blender doesn’t have variable speed settings, cover and hold the lid with a kitchen towel to prevent hot liquid from explosively erupting from the blender.

Transfer the mixture to the mold and let cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or until thoroughly chilled and set.

Remove the plastic wrap and run a dull table knife around the perimeter to loosen the jellied sauce (be careful not to damage the mold). Invert a serving plate over the mold and then flip the two plates over to release the jellied sauce. Garnish with the fresh cranberries and a sprig of fresh mint if desired. Serve cold.


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Sicilian Panelle

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DSC01470-001Panelle, also known as Panella di Ceci, are Sicilian fritters made from chickpea flour and seasonings and are similar to fried polenta. They are a popular street food in Palermo and are often eaten between slices of bread or on a roll, like a sandwich. Panelle are believed to be of Arabic origin. The panelle can be cut into various shapes and sizes before frying.

Ingredients for the Panelle

• 1 cup chickpea flour
• 2 T dried parsley flakes
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 1 tsp dried basil
• ½ tsp garlic powder
• 2 cups water
• 2 T olive oil
• 1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
• high-temp cooking oil for frying

Ingredients for the Relish (optional)

Mix together in a bowl:
• 3 campari tomatoes, seeded and diced
• 3 T finely diced onion
• 3 T finely chopped flat leaf parsley
• 2 tsp olive oil
• 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
• sea salt or kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preparation
Oil and 8”x8” baking dish or line with parchment paper. Set aside.

Combine the chickpea flour, parsley, onion powder, basil and garlic powder in a bowl.

In a medium saucepan, bring the water, oil and salt to a boil. Reduce the heat to a vigorous simmer and sprinkle in a small portion of the flour mixture while whisking vigorously to avoid lumps. Continue to incorporate the flour mixture in increments. Cook the mixture until it begins to pull away a bit from the sides of the saucepan. It will be very thick.

Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and spread evenly. Let cool a bit and then cover with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or until completely chilled and firm set.

Cut the panelle into any desired shape and fry until golden brown in hot cooking oil. They take a little time to brown, so be patient. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to blot excess oil. Serve warm.


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Lentil Hummus

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DSC01430-002Hummus is a classic Middle Eastern dish and is excellent served as a dip or sandwich spread. This variation is made with cooked red or yellow lentils instead of the traditional chickpeas. It’s smooth, creamy and delicious! Sweating the garlic prior to blending mellows the garlic flavor. Serve with warm or toasted pita or other flatbread, and/or crunchy fresh vegetables. This recipe yields about 2 cups.

Ingredients
• 1 cup dry red or yellow lentils
• 1 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish
• 3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
• ¼ cup sesame tahini
• 1 T fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• ½ tsp ground coriander
• ½ tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt, or more to taste
• ¼ tsp ground white pepper
• water sufficient for processing
• 1 T chopped fresh parsley for garnish
• other garnish(es) of your choice*

*Other garnishes might include but are not limited to: Non-dairy feta (from the Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook); sweet or smoked paprika; powdered sumac; roasted or sautéed minced garlic; chopped roasted red peppers; dairy-free pesto; toasted pine nuts; chopped cilantro or basil.

Preparation
Sort through the dry lentils and remove any foreign matter. Rinse the lentils thoroughly in a sieve, drain and add to a medium cooking pot. Add 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt and bring to a boil. Stir the lentils, partially cover the pot, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain the cooked lentils thoroughly in the sieve.

While the cooked lentils are draining, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a small skillet and place over medium-low to low heat. Sweat the garlic about 10 minutes to mellow and sweeten the flavor and remove the raw pungency. If you hear an audible “sizzle” from the oil, the heat is too high; turn it down slightly.

Place the drained lentils into a blender or food processor and add the sautéed garlic and remaining ingredients except for the parsley and other optional garnishes. Process until very smooth. Add water as needed to assist processing. The hummus should be creamy and smooth, not thick and pasty.

Taste and add salt or more lemon juice as desired (lemon juice plays a supporting role in flavor development but the hummus should not have an obvious lemon flavor). Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes to thicken and blend the flavors before serving, or for up to 1 week. The hummus will thicken a little bit upon refrigeration; if it becomes too thick after chilling, simply incorporate a little water.

Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and garnish as desired before serving.


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Vegan Irish Colcannon

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colcannon-001 Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish consisting of creamy, buttery mashed potatoes and tender cooked kale seasoned with green onions, salt, pepper and parsley.

Ingredients
• 3 pounds russet potatoes (about 4 large)
• ½ cup non-dairy butter or margarine,
plus 1 to 2 T additional melted butter or margarine for garnish
• 1 cup hot non-dairy milk
• 1 T olive oil
• 6 oz baby kale; or mature kale with tough ribs removed and then chopped
• 3 green onions, white and green parts, finely chopped
• sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
• coarse ground black pepper, to taste
• 2 T chopped parsley for garnish

Preparation
Peel and cut the potatoes into large chunks. Immediately immerse the cut potatoes in 4 quarts of water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil. Cook until fork tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, flash sauté the kale and green onions with the olive oil in a large skillet until the kale is wilted and tender. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Drain the potatoes in a colander and then transfer to a large mixing bowl or back to the cooking pot. Mash the potatoes with the butter and hot milk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the sautéed kale and green onions.

Transfer the colcannon to a serving dish and garnish with the parsley. Make a well in the center of the colcannon and garnish with a tablespoon or two of melted butter or margarine. Serve immediately.


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