Best Ever Vegan Fudge

DSC_0194Don’t you just love fudge?  And who wouldn’t love fudge with chocolate, peanut butter, butterscotch and marshmallow?  The result is a perfect blend of all those yummy flavors.  It is creamy and delicious and so simple to make!  I made it a lot when my kids were younger but I stopped making it once we became vegan because I couldn’t find vegan butterscotch chips.  Until now, that is!  YAY!  I found vegan butterscotch chips (click here), ran home to make this fudge, tweaked it a little bit and it is perfection; even better than I remember!  Before making it, I will always have to make sure I have the butterscotch chips and the vegan marshmallows on hand, because both can be hard to find in stores and may need to be ordered online, but this fudge is so well worth any extra effort that I will still be making it often.  And just so you know, if you use regular marshmallows, they contain gelatin, which is made by boiling bones, skin, connective tissue and organs of various animals such as cows, pigs, lambs and horses.  Infinitely better to prepare in advance and get one of these vegan brands (Dandies or Sweet & Sara) at a specialty store or online.  Enjoy!

  • 12 oz vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 c peanut butter
  • 1 T vegan butter
  • 1 c vegan butterscotch chips
  • 8 oz vegan mini marshmallows
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t vanilla

Lightly oil an 8×8” pan, then line with a large piece of plastic wrap so that the piece drapes well over the sides of the pan.

In a medium size pan, melt the chocolate, peanut butter, “butter,” butterscotch and salt over medium heat, stirring until smooth.

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Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and marshmallows.  Cover by folding over the plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 3 hours.

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Remove plastic and cut into whatever size pieces you like.

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Potato Cakes with Lentil “Caviar”

DSC_0167I recently came across black lentils for the first time and knew I had to come up with a really special way to use them.  What I created far exceeded my expectations!  The potato cakes are so crispy and delicious and the lentils, while they obviously don’t have the squishy texture of caviar (which I never really cared for anyway), they do have a seafood  taste.  By cooking them in kombu and shitake broth, the fish flavor is subtle, yet perfect.  This recipe makes a very large amount of both the caviar and the potato cakes, so please reduce it unless you are making it for a party as I was.  And just so you know – they will disappear very, very fast, so you might want to make more than you think you need!  I used fresh dill, chives and lemon zest to garnish them, but I bet they would also be wonderful with fresh cilantro, rosemary, orange zest, fried sage leaves, or whatever you have on hand.  They are just so darn good they will always taste great!

DSC_0223For the lentil “caviar”

  • 1 c black lentils
  • 1 oz dried shitakes
  • 12” piece kombu
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 T dulse flakes

Separately soak the shitakes in 2 c warm water and the kombu in 4 c warm water, for 30 minutes.

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In a medium saucepan, place the lentils, salt, dulse, and the shitakes and kombu, with 2 cups of the soaking liquid from each.

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Bring to a gentle boil, then turn heat to low, and with lid open a little bit, simmer for 25 minutes, or until tender.  Remove kombu and shitakes and then drain lentils.

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For the potato cakes (latkes) – makes about 75 bite size

  • 6 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks
  • 2/3 c quick cooking oats
  • 3/4 c plain bread crumbs
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 t onion powder
  • canola or safflower oil for frying

In a glass bowl, combine oats with 1 1/3 c water and microwave on high for a minute and a half.  Set aside.

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Grate potatoes and onion together (onion will help potatoes from turning brown) in a food processor or by hand.

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 In a large bowl, combine grated potatoes and onion with bread crumbs, salt, onion powder and oatmeal.

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Heat oil in pan over medium high heat.  Form mix into small circles and cook in oil until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.

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If the mix gets too liquidy, you can add more bread crumbs as you go along.

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For the cream

  • 8 oz tofutti better than sour cream, or other vegan sour cream
  • 1/4 c chopped chives

To serve – place a teaspoon of cream on each cake and place a teaspoon of caviar over the cream.  Garnish with your choice of chopped dill, lemon zest, chives, parsley, cilantro, fried sage, orange zest – just about anything you like!

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Cheezecake Bars

DSC_0046Cheesecake bars were a part of my childhood.  My mother made them just about every time she had company over, probably  because they were so good they were requested time and again. Obviously I had to veganize them.  I am so thrilled with the end result!  They are very easy to make and so scrumptious because the center is so perfectly sandwiched between two layers of delicious crust, just as I remember them!  It is amazing how almost any recipe can be veganized – even cheesecakes that typically call for at least 3 eggs.  Agar Agar is awesome!  It is a tasteless, vegetable gelatin derived from sea vegetation.  For those of you who are unaware – gelatin is absolutely horrid.  It is made of animal bones (along with animal skin, hooves, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage) all boiled together into a goo that’s added to all kinds of candy and baked goods.  Agar Agar has none of that nastiness!  It works perfectly in this recipe to hold the cheezecake together.  You can find it at health food stores or specialty markets like Whole Foods, as well as on online.  While these bars may not be the healthiest recipe on my blog, they are so delicious and every once in a while I like to indulge.  If you do too, then try these bars.  You won’t be disappointed.

  • 2/3 c brown sugar
  • 8 T vegan butter 
  • 2 c flour
  • 1/2 c finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 8 oz tubs vegan cream cheese
  • 1 12 oz package firm silken tofu, drained
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 2 t agar agar flakes
  • 1/2 c vegan chocolate chips

Cream the “butter” and the brown sugar.  Add the flour and the nuts and work together with your fingers until it forms little crumbs.

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Reserve 1 cup for topping, and press the rest into a 9×13” pan.

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Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, or until golden.

Mix all remaining ingredients, except agar agar, in a large bowl with a hand mixer.

Add agar agar and mix one minute more.  Pour into crust and sprinkle 1 cup reserved topping on top.

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Bake for 30 minutes.  Turn off oven and leave in with door open for 30 minutes more.  Chill.  Drizzle with melted chocolate if desired.  Cut into 18 bars.

Grilled Seitan with Tangy Asian Sauce

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I LOVE SEITAN!!   I love it sauteed, steamed, fried, and baked, but my favorite way to enjoy seitan is grilled!   This recipe is so simple and can be made using my basic seitan recipe, or by purchasing seitan already made.  When I don’t have time to make it myself, I like to use West Soy Seitan, which is available at health food stores and specialty markets like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.  The advantage to making the seitan yourself is that you will end up with nice cutlet size pieces, as opposed to the smaller cubes or strips available pre-made.  But whichever seitan you use, this recipe will be sure to please!  If you use the pre-made seitan, then you will need a grilling basket.  You can also forgo the grill and sautee the seitan in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and it will still taste great!

FOR MY BASIC SEITAN RECIPE – CLICK HERE.

You will need 9 “steaks” – which is 1/2 of my basic recipe for seitan, or 2 boxes of West Soy Seitan.  

  • 2 T sesame oil
  • 1 entire bulb of garlic, pressed
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 T agave nectar

Mix together in a small bowl and then rub 1/2 t onto the front and back of each “steak.”

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Oil your grill and grill the seitan steaks about 3 minutes per side.

For the sauce, combine the following:

  • 1 T rice wine vinegar
  • 1 T agave nectar
  • 1 T braggs liquid aminos

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Serves 4

 

SEITAN demystified

seitan recipesI really love SEITAN!!  For those of you who are not familiar with it, let me get you up to speed.  Seitan is a plant-based meat alternative made from wheat gluten.  The beauty of seitan is that it is really easy to make at home and freezes well too!  And who wouldn’t love a protein source that offers 20 grams of protein for each 3 ounce serving and yet only 1.5 grams of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat?  Seitan is also very versatile.  It can be baked, grilled, sauteed, fried, or prepared just about any way that you would prepare meat.  So who needs that nasty meat anyway?  If you have not tried to make seitan yourself, please go for it.  You will be glad you did.  If you are not into cooking, you can purchase seitan at health food stores and specialty markets like Whole Foods.  When I am in a rush, I will use the West Soy brand, but the pieces are small and imho are best suited for a quick stir fry.  Not that there is anything at all wrong with that!  That is delicious!  However, in many of my recipes, the seitan is much better when it is the size of what a cutlet of meat would be.  By making my own seitan, I can make it any size I want.  

Making seitan makes me happy!  There is no fat to trim or blood to rinse off or e coli or salmonella to wipe off from my countertop!  No hormones or antibiotics in it at all.  And when I have the finished seitan cutlets on a plate I think about how easy it was to make a cruelty-free protein source that is so much healthier than meat and then I compare that to the entire wretched process of how a piece of steak or breast of chicken gets on a styrofoam tray at a supermarket chain and what that entails.  The difference is astonishing.  One is so good, healthy, compassionate and the other just so horribly bad – bad for your health, bad for the environment, bad for the animals.

This recipe is adapted from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan with a Vengeance.  All Isa’s cookbooks are incredible!!  The actual work time is minimal, maybe 20 minutes tops, but it does take a lot of time on the stove, so plan accordingly.  That is why I usually make my seitan over the weekend.  The recipe will yield enough seitan for 2 family meals or 4 meals for one or two people.  I actually double the recipe and thereby get enough seitan to make 4 meals for my family, and I freeze at least half of it which is great!  Then, I just defrost it in the fridge the night before I want to use it and it is ready to go!

BASIC SEITAN RECIPE

Ingredients for Seitan

Ingredients for Seitan

  • 2 c vital wheat gluten – you can get this pre-packaged from Arrowhead Mills for example (they carry this at my local Shoprite) or you can get it in bulk from health food stores and specialty markets like Whole Foods.
  • 2 T flour
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • 1 c vegetable broth
  • 1/2 c soy sauce
  • 1 t ketchup
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 T chickpea flour

for the broth –

  • 9 c water
  • 3 c vegetable broth
  • 1/2 c soy sauce
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t onion powder

In a large bowl, combine the 3 first ingredients. 

Dry Ingredients

In another bowl, combine the next 4 ingredients. 

Wet Ingredients

Pour the wet into the dry and mix with your hands and knead until it is all incorporated.  

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Knead in the chickpea flour.  

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Let dough rest for 5 minutes. 

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Meanwhile, mix the broth ingredients in a large pot, but do not heat yet. 

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Roll the dough into a 10” log

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Cut into 6 pieces.

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Place the pieces into the cold broth.  Partially cover and turn the heat to high.  Bring to boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 90 minutes. 

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Remove from heat and let cool in pan for another hour if you have the time.  At this point, you can use the seitan, store in the broth in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for later.  I usually cut each of the 6 pieces into 3 cutlet size pieces, so I wind up with 18 cutlets from this recipe.  If you are using it later, don’t slice it into individual pieces until you are ready to use it.

Slicing the Seitan