Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Kale Chips

Several people have asked me if I've tried kale chips.  I tried chocolate covered kale chips once in a natural market and thought they were pretty good.  But, I had never made them at home.  I decided to give it a try!

I bought a big, 10 oz. bag of kale, pre-cut at Trader Joe's.  I tossed the kale in a bowl with olive oil and salt.


I had enough kale to fill two cookie sheets.  I baked it at 300 degrees for about 25 minutes.
 

And here they are! Thin, crispy, and delicious kale chips! I have mine on a paper towel because I overdid it on the olive oil.  I think a couple tablespoons is plenty!


I'm not kidding about them being delicious.  They're almost addictive.  I was nearly finished with the first batch before the second cookie sheet ever came out of the oven!


I really hope you'll try this.  Kale is such a superfood! It helps prevent cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. This is a great alternative to potato chips!

Jessica

Gone Bananas!

I have seen these chocolate covered frozen banana slices in Trader Joe's. They're $2.00 a box and the box is so light, it feels like there might be 10 slices in there.

Photo from a blog called "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"
I am always tempted to buy them.  And then I think, "I can make them myself!" And I did! Only, I put peanut butter inside of mine.

First I sliced 4 bananas into 1/2 inch slices.  This is enough to cover one cookie sheet. I lined the cookie sheet with waxed paper.  I put about a teaspoon of peanut butter on each slice and put them in the freezer.  All natural peanut butter is a little runnier than others, so I wanted it to be frozen before dipping them in chocolate. Otherwise, I would have had a mess!



Next, I melted about a half a pound of dark chocolate (You can use chocolate chips.) with soy creamer in the microwave.  I would have used a non-dairy milk (soy/rice/almond), but my carton of rice milk had mold growing in it!  The soy creamer worked!  I just added a couple of tablespoons of creamer at a time, until it reached a thin enough consistency for dipping the bananas.  You don't want it to be thick like a ganache frosting. I use dark chocolate because it doesn't have milk fat like milk chocolate does, and I wanted them to be vegan.  Check your labels.


Finally, I put the cookie sheet with chocolate covered bananas in the freezer.  Once they're frozen, I'll transfer them into a container.  I think next time, I'll sprinkle the tops of the bananas with chopped peanuts!

I had some chocolate left over, so I decided to dip some strawberries and put in the refrigerator for dessert tonight!



This is a great way to save money, and a lot healthier than eating candy. What are some of your other favorite chocolate covered snacks?

Jessica


Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer Berry Cobbler

It's Memorial Day, and I thought I'd bake something red, white, and blue for the occasion! I can't believe how good this Summer Berry Cobbler is!  No eggs, no milk, no butter, but tastes amazing!  It would be good with whipped cream on top, but I think it's perfect and sweet just the way it is.

I'll entice you with pictures first, then post the recipe at the bottom.






 










  
Summer Berry Cobbler with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream  

by Chloe Coscarelli

Ingredients

Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

  • 1 (14-ounce) can of coconut milk – not “lite”, chilled (preferably Thai Kitchen brand or 365 Whole Foods brand)
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

Dough

  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup canola oil or vegan margarine
  • ½ cup soy, almond, or rice milk, plus extra for brushing

Fruit

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Procedure

To make the Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

Chill the bowl and whisk of a stand mixer in the freezer for about 30 minutes. If they are not very cold, the cream will not whip properly. Skim the solidified coconut cream off the chilled coconut milk and transfer the solids to the bowl of a stand mixer. Do not include any of the coconut water, even if you have to leave behind a little margin of coconut cream (even a little bit of coconut water can harm your results).
Add the powdered sugar and vanilla bean seeds, and whip for a few minutes until the mixture begins to stiffen and turn into whipped cream. Work quickly so everything stays cold. Chill whipped cream in a covered container in the refrigerator. It should firm up even more as it sits in the refrigerator for the next few hours or overnight.

To make the dough

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate small bowl, whisk the oil and nondairy milk, and add it to the flour mixture.  Mix with a wooden spoon until combined and the consistency is sticky and dough-like. Do not over-mix.

To prepare the fruit

In a medium bowl, whisk sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Add berries and toss with a large spoon until the berries are coated with the sugar mixture.

To assemble and bake the cobbler

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Pour the berries into a 9- x 13-inch baking pan or distribute evenly into 8 ramekins. Using a tablespoon, scoop lumps of dough on top of berries. Brush the top of the dough with nondairy milk and generously sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 45 minutes or until dough is thoroughly cooked and lightly browned on top. Be sure to rotate after 20 minutes so that it bakes evenly.

To serve

Top each serving of cobbler with a dollop of chilled Coconut Whipped Cream.


This will make a great addition to your Memorial Day menu! I hope you all have a great holiday!

Jessica

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Fried Pizza

I hope you're all having a great weekend!  My husband and I got up at 4:45 this morning to take pictures of the sunrise at the beach.  It was so pretty and quiet out there. It's tourist season, so it's nice to be out there before it's packed with people!



After falling asleep this afternoon, I woke up just in time to help my husband finish making dinner. Ooops! That's what he gets for waking me up so early! ;) We had fried pizza! It's so crispy and good, it makes you feel like you're eating pizza from a restaurant. 

Fried Pizza

1. Make your usual dough recipe. Roll into personal-size pizzas.
2. In a deep frying pan, heat canola oil on med-high heat. Dip a little piece of dough in the oil.  If it sizzles, it's ready!
3. Place dough gently in the oil, being careful not to splash it. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side, until golden brown.
4. Place fried dough on a paper towel to absorb the oil.
5. Add your sauce and toppings. (We did a couple with marinara and a couple with basil pesto.)
6. Bake in the oven on 425 degrees for about 10 minutes.




This is my husband's vegetarian pizza with cheese.


I put pesto and fresh tomatoes on mine for a vegan version.

This is so fun to make for friends and family because everyone can put their favorite toppings on their own pizza. I like knowing that my crust and toppings don't have added preservatives.

I would love to know what fun things YOU'RE doing...and eating this holiday weekend!

Jessica

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Vegan Pub Food

I'm not going to ruin your appetite by going into details or posting photos about factory farming.  However, I think if we actually went to see the conditions from which most of our meat comes from, any of us with a heart, would not be able to watch it, nor sit down for a burger afterwards. It's not good for the animals, our health, or the environment. 

There is an alternative to that greasy hamburger you love!  Tonight I made vegan pub food for dinner, and I think I died and went to heaven!  It was SO good!

First on the menu was black bean burgers, served on a whole wheat bun.  And of course, smothered in organic ketchup and mustard!





Here's the recipe!

Ingredients

Black Bean Patties by Chloe Coscarelli

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely diced or shredded (about ½ cup)
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup water

Procedure

To make the Black Bean Patties: In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onions and let cook until tender and slightly caramelized, about 20 minutes. Transfer onions to a large bowl. Reserve skillet for later use.

Add beans, carrots, cornmeal, breadcrumbs, chili powder, salt, cilantro, and water to the bowl of onions. Use a large spoon or your hands to mash it all together. If the mixture is too dry to hold together, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Using your hands, form the bean mixture into patties, to match the size of your slider buns. In the reserved nonstick skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat, and pan-fry patties about 3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned and crisp. Add more oil to the skillet as needed. Drain patties on paper towels.

Next on the menu: Sea Salt and Vinegar Pub Fries! They were so delicious and easy to make!  Slice your potatoes in 1/4 inch strips, coat them in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake in the oven on 400 for 40+ minutes, until brown and crispy. When they come out of the oven, spray with British malt vinegar. 



I found this malt vinegar on the aisle with the other vinegars, but I had to look long and hard for it. There was only one bottle left!  I'm so glad I found it.  It has a much milder taste than white or apple cider vinegar. It's really good. If you like salt and vinegar chips, you will love these fries!




I hope you enjoy this vegan version of pub food! You can really make a big difference in your health and the environment by eating at least one vegan meal a week.

I will be eating the leftovers for my lunch tomorrow!

Jessica

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Garden Spotlight: Historic Francis Land House

Historic Francis Land House
Heirloom Vegetable Garden
Virginia Beach, VA

Garden maintained by Master Gardeners of Virginia Beach