VeganMofo Round Up: We crossed the finish line!

Posted by on Sep 28, 2014 in Everything Else | 6 comments

Wow. I can’t believe that VeganMoFo is more or less over.  When I started, I set out to go around the world in 20 recipes. I’ve managed more than that! Over the course of the past four weeks, we’ve visited 24 countries, from China, to Indonesia, to South Africa, to Ghana, to Turkey, to Azerbaijan, to Brazil, to Mexico and many places in between! It’s been fun sharing my reflections about some of the countries I have visited and I’m fairly proud of the recipes I have created over the past month as well. 

So without much further ado, here’s a quick recap of the last two weeks worth of recipes! (The recap of the first two weeks of travel through Asia and Africa is here). 

Mediterranean Vegetable Stew

Mediterranean Vegetable Stew

In Turkey I shared a recipe for a lovely Mediterranean vegetable stew. This is a great way to use your leftover squash and eggplant, especially now the weather is getting cooler. 

Sweet rolls!

Sweet rolls!

From there, we headed north to Poland, where I posted a recipe for delicious sweet rolls, with options for either jam or your own homemade cheese fillings! So good! 

Sweet & White Potato Pancakes with Mushroom Sauce

Sweet & White Potato Pancakes with Mushroom Sauce

Then we went north again to Lithuania, the place where I truly learned the difference between dark and light! My recipe for that day was some yummy sweet and white potato pancakes with mushroom sauce. 

Raw Varenyky and Vinegret

Raw Varenyky and Vinegret

Our next stop in Europe was Ukraine, the home of my paternal grandparents and a place that I absolutely love, for raw varenyky and vinegret. 

Ajarian lobiani, boiled & fried khachapuri & Georgian salad

Ajarian lobiani, boiled & fried khachapuri & Georgian salad

Then we headed to the Caucusus! Georgia is a country known for its feasts and feast we did on vegan versions of Ajarian lobiani, boiled & fried khachapuri and Georgian salad. 

Rose Ice Cream

Rose Ice Cream

Our last stop in Europe was in Azerbaijan, where we enjoyed a yummy rose ice cream. 

Potpie Brazilian Style

Potpie Brazilian Style

Then we headed to Latin America and the Caribbean! Our first stop was Brazil for a delicious empadão sem frango, or chicken-free potpie, Brazilian style! 

Panqueques con manjar

Panqueques con manjar

Our second stop was Chile, where I reflected on some of its paradoxes and shared a scrumptious recipe for panqueques con manjar (dulce de leche). Yes, delicious, vegan dulce de leche is possible! 

Raw alfajores

Raw alfajores

Then we went to Argentina for a raw, vegan version of their national dessert: alfajores! These are pretty amazing, I have to admit. 

Rellenitos de platano

Rellenitos de platano

Our first stop in Central America was in Guatemala, where we enjoyed rellenitos de platano, or plantains stuffed with black beans. This is a sweet and surprisingly delicious treat! 

Saltfish and Coconut Bake

Saltfish and Coconut Bake

Then we made a quick stop in the Caribbean to visit the gorgeous islands of Trinidad and Tobago and enjoy a vegan “saltfish” and coconut bake, a delicious breakfast, or any time, sandwich.

Mexican Pizza!

Mexican Pizza!

Finally, we headed back to Central America to visit Mexico and I shared a recipe for a great, and very easy, Mexican pizza!  

And that’s it. We’ve gone around the world in 20 24 (or more) recipes! To be honest, I wasn’t sure I would manage to finish it. It certainly has not been easy. But what a sense of accomplishment I feel now that it’s done. : ) 

I hope you enjoyed taking this VeganMoFo journey with me!

Now, the question is… how do I top this next year? 

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Mexico: Mexican Pizza

Posted by on Sep 27, 2014 in Recipes | 0 comments

Mexico: Mexican Pizza

Believe it or not, Mexico is the last stop on our VeganMoFo world tour! I wasn’t intending to make Mexico our last stop. That honor was going to go to Puerto Rico. But I had a bit of a recipe fail and so decided to switch gears. And I’m glad I did, because the recipe I’m sharing today is a pretty great way to end this crazy month. 

I went to Mexico City in 2008 for the International AIDS Conference. I really didn’t get to spend a lot of time exploring the city, and even when I did manage to escape the conference center, I didn’t really take that many photos. So in many respects, even though I have been there, I kind of feel like I haven’t *really* been there. And for that reason I don’t really have a lot to say about Mexico! 

The last day I was in Mexico, I did get the chance to visit a bustling market selling food, textiles and all sorts of great things, where I bought some beautiful silver earrings. And I visited el Museo Nacional de Antropologia (National Anthropology Museum), which was fascinating.  

Aerial Acrobatics in Mexico City!

The flying men!

Half way down the pole

Half way down the pole

Hitting the ground...

Hitting the ground…

Right outside of the museum, I got to see the “Danza de los Voladores,” or the Dance of the Flying Men. This is an ancient Mesoamerican ritual where five men climb to the top of a pole and then four of them launch off it head first with ropes wrapped around them. As the ropes unfurl they rotate around the pole, until they finally hit the ground.  The fifth man stays on top of the pole all the while dancing and playing a flute and drum until the others make it to the ground. When the flying men hit the ground they flip themselves over as if they didn’t just descent head first thirty feet or more.  The mythology surrounding the ritual is that it was created to appeal to Mayan gods to break a long-lasting drought.  It was pretty amazing! It has been named “intangible cultural heritage” by UNESCO, which gives Mexico the responsibility of conserving the practice for future generations. 

At the National Anthropology Museum

A Teotihuacán Sculpture

Day of the Dead Sculpture at the National Anthropology Museum

Oaxacan Sculpture at the National Anthropology Museum

An Olmec Head

An Olmec Head

The museum was filled with art and sculptures from Mesoamerican civilizations.  It was absolutely beautiful and a great way to spend a couple of hours. 

A giant penis, created by the Huaxteca people

A giant penis, created by the Huaxteca people

Tlaloc, the god of water.

Tlaloc, the god of water.

Wall

Quetzalcoatl Pyramid facade replica

So now let’s focus on food! There is actually a treat that many in Mexico enjoy called molletes, which are actually open-faced sandwiches on crusty bread with a thick layer of refried beans, topped with cheese and pico de gallo.  And that is what inspired me to create this absolutely delicious pizza.

Mexican Pizza!

Mexican Pizza!

 It has a nice thick pizza crust, covered in refried beans, topped with a little mozzarella, avocado and pico de gallo.   

Oh so good!

Oh so good!

Mexican Pizza
Serves 2
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Total Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr
Dough
  1. 1 ½ cups gluten free flour mix*
  2. 1 ½ tsp yeast
  3. ½ tsp sugar
  4. ½ cup warm water
  5. ¼ tsp salt
  6. 1 tbsp vegan butter, melted or olive oil
Beans
  1. 4 cloves garlic
  2. 1 can black beans (or about 2 cups cooked)
  3. ½ tsp cumin
  4. ½ tsp ancho chili powder (or other chili powder)
  5. ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  6. Salt to taste
  7. ½ tbsp. coconut oil, aroma free
Pizza Toppings
  1. ¼ cup shredded vegan mozzarella
  2. ½ avocado
Pico de Gallo
  1. 3 small tomatoes, or 1 large, chopped
  2. ½ - 1 Jalapeño, diced
  3. ¼ onion, diced
  4. 1 clove garlic, chopped
  5. 1 tbsp lime juice
  6. 2 or more tbsps chopped cilantro (to taste)
  7. Salt and pepper, to taste
Dough
  1. Mix together water, yeast and sugar in a cup or bowl and set aside until yeast becomes activated and fluffy.
  2. Mix together flour mix and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Add yeast mixture and melted butter and stir to combine.
  4. The dough should be soft, but not sticky. If needed add additional flour a little at a time until it feels right.
  5. Knead into a ball, cover and set aside for an hour or so, for the dough to rise to about double, at least 30 minutes.
Beans
  1. Drain the beans and rinse thoroughly.
  2. Place beans, spices, and salt into a bowl and using a potato masher or a fork, mash the beans until there are no full beans left and until you get a somewhat smooth texture (or a texture that you like!).
  3. Heat a pan on medium high, add a little bit of coconut oil.
  4. Add the beans to the pan and cook until they are heated through.
Putting the pizza together
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. On a floured board, turn out your dough and using your hands (or a rolling pin if you like), press it out to form a flat circle about 8-10 inches in diameter.
  3. Top with refried beans and mozzarella.
  4. Bake in your oven for 15-20 minutes until the crust is a lovely golden brown and the cheese has melted.
  5. You can broil it for a few minutes at the end to melt the cheese thoroughly and brown it a little more if you like!
  6. While the pizza is cooking, make your pico de gallo by adding your chopped tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, garlic, cilantro and lime juice to a medium bowl.
  7. Mix it together and season to taste.
  8. Slice your avocado.
  9. When the pizza is cooked, remove it from the oven.
  10. Lay the avocado slices on your pizza and top it with a nice big pile of pico de gallo.
  11. Devour it!
Notes
  1. * I use a gluten-free flour mix that is made of 2 cups of Bob's Red Mill all-purpose gluten-free flour, 1/2 cup of arrowroot powder and 11/2 tsps xanthan gum. You could use another gluten-free flour mix, but be sure to add a tsp of xanthan gum if it doesn't already have it!
Vegan Sweet and Simple http://vegansweetandsimple.com/
Music for your mouth!

Music for your mouth!

This makes a great meal for two. It’s the kind of thing that makes you sad once you’ve eaten it, because it seriously leaves you craving more… 

Yum yum yum!

Yum yum yum!

I really hope you enjoyed taking this world tour with me! Tomorrow I’ll post a round up of the last two weeks. And then I might just take a break from blogging for a few days! : ) 

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Trinidad and Tobago: Vegan “Saltfish” and Coconut Bake

Posted by on Sep 26, 2014 in Recipes | 2 comments

Trinidad and Tobago: Vegan “Saltfish” and Coconut Bake

We venture into the Caribbean today to visit Trinidad and Tobago.  

I am lucky that I have been to so many beautiful places on this earth. And one of the most beautiful just may be Tobago!  My friend Tanya’s family owns a gorgeous guest house in Tobago, perched on rolling hills. I arrived in Port of Spain in Trinidad on a Friday evening, she met me at the airport and we took a $20 and 20 minute flight to Tobago to spend a little bit of time enjoying the pure and utter beauty of that island. It’s hard to describe the majesty of it. It is so incredibly lush and green, with tall mountains looming over the deep blue ocean.  

A gorgeous bird in Tobago

A gorgeous bird in Tobago

Lushness defined!

Lushness defined!

It was in Tobago that I first saw a cacao tree replete with gorgeous pink pods on our walk to a lovely waterfall and swimming hole, where we spent a lazy afternoon. 

Cacao Tree

Cacao Tree

Top of the waterfall

Top of the waterfall

Bottom of the waterfall

Bottom of the waterfall

After our far too short sojourn, we took an overnight ferry back to Port of Spain and arrived not so well-rested and a little bleary eyed, but with a lingering sense of contentment. 

The week we spent in Port of Spain was pretty intense, but we made sure we carved out a little time for fun too.  Let me just say, Trinis know how to party! One evening we went out dancing with some friends we had made during our meetings that week.  Now, I am a punk rock girl. At that time, dancing to me involved jumping up and down, kicking my feet up, and a good deal of silliness.  I have to admit that I was a touch shocked by the intimacy and sensuality of my friends’  dancing in Port of Spain; not what I was used to at all! 

Buying doubles!

Buying doubles!

The food in Trinidad and Tobago was really great, with lots of vegan friendly curries, greens, eggplant dishes, and amazing breads. And perhaps the best thing ever is doubles: two pieces of flat, fried bread sandwiching curried chickpeas with pepper sauce and chutney! Oh my!

But I decided I’m not going to share a doubles recipe today (it’s already vegan, so no challenge there)! I’m going to share a recipe for another traditional Trini meal: “saltfish” and coconut bake. 

Coconut Bake

Coconut Bake

Bakes in Trinidad refer to any bread that does not use yeast.  And one thing I knew for sure is that I wanted to create a gluten-free recipe for coconut bake. This bread is delicious! It has a subtle, but distinct coconutty flavor and is best served fresh out of the oven.

The thing that is most commonly made with coconut bake is a sandwich piled high with flaked saltfish in a spicy tomato sauce.  I decided I wasn’t going to even try to approximate that. And I actually started cooking up some garlicky, spicy eggplant to go with my bake.  But then I spied a can of green jackfruit out of the corner of my eye and a flash of inspiration hit me! 

"Saltfish" and Coconut Bake

“Saltfish” and Coconut Bake

I’m so glad I decided to try this! The jackfruit makes a sandwich that is just plain yummy.  Really, really yummy! I added some dulse flakes to give it an umami oceany flavor, but you could just as well make it without and it would be great too. 

Coconut Bake
Yields 4
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Total Time
40 min
Total Time
40 min
Coconut Bake
  1. 2 cups gluten-free flour mix*
  2. 1 tsp salt
  3. 2 tsps baking powder
  4. 2 tbsps coconut oil
  5. ¾ cup coconut flakes
  6. 2/3 cup water
  7. 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Using your paddle on your stand mixer, mix together flour, salt and baking powder.
  3. Add coconut oil and mix until the flour becomes a little crumbly.
  4. Add coconut flakes and mix again to combine.
  5. Add apple cider vinegar and water and mix again until you get a firm dough.
  6. Remove the dough from the bowl and separate into four equal pieces.
  7. Roll each piece into a ball and then use a rolling pin to flatten to about ½ - ¾ inch.
  8. Place on a parchment-paper lined baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
Notes
  1. * I use a gluten-free flour mix that is made of 2 cups of Bob's Red Mill all-purpose gluten-free flour, 1/2 cup of arrowroot powder and 11/2 tsps xanthan gum. You could use any all-purpose gluten-free flour mix you like, but be sure to add 1tsp of xanthan gum if it doesn't already have it!
Vegan Sweet and Simple http://vegansweetandsimple.com/
"Saltfish"
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. ½ onion, sliced
  2. ¼ scotch bonnet, or more to taste, chopped
  3. 1 can of green jackfruit in brine, drained and rinsed
  4. 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  5. 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  6. 2 scallions, chopped
  7. 1 tbsp tamari
  8. 1½ tsps. dulse flakes (or to taste)
  9. Salt and pepper to taste
  10. Oil for sautéing
Instructions
  1. Add a little oil to a large pan and heat on medium.
  2. When hot, add onion and scotch bonnet and sauté until onion softens, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add jackfruit and cook for 15-20 minutes until it softens and shreds (you may need to help it shred).
  4. Meanwhile in another pan add a little oil.
  5. When hot add tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add garlic and scallions and simmer until the jackfruit is ready.
  7. Add a tbsp. of tamari to jackfruit and stir to combine.
  8. Add tomato sauce mixture and stir again.
  9. Turn off heat and add dulse flakes.
  10. Add salt and pepper as needed.
Vegan Sweet and Simple http://vegansweetandsimple.com/
To assemble the sandwiches I put a layer of baby greens, some slices of avocado and then piled the “saltfish” on top.

Yum!

Yum!

Saltfish and coconut bake is served traditionally for breakfast in Trinidad, but this also makes a fine lunch or dinner! 

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Guatemala: Rellenitos de Platano

Posted by on Sep 25, 2014 in Recipes | 2 comments

Guatemala: Rellenitos de Platano

Today we head north to Central America on our VeganMoFo world tour to linger for a while in Guatemala. I’ve been to Guatemala twice and while I spent some time in Guatemala City, I spent most of my time in the small, but absolutely lovely Antigua. And both times I really loved it. I think I’ve walked down every single street in Antigua at least twice and possibly thrice. I adored browsing its art galleries, scouring its stores for little treasures, bargaining with Mayan women for trinkets, and exploring its bustling fruit and vegetable markets.

In the Market

In the Market

A Horse in Antigua

A Horse in Antigua

One of the many old churches...

One of the many old churches…

The first time I visited, I hiked Pacaya Volcano about an hour outside Antigua. The ride was gorgeous, through winding mountains and beautiful countryside. The hike was pretty incredible, and very hard. I remember at one point standing in volcanic ash knee deep, my thighs shaking, trying to convince myself to just keep going (I really had no choice!). Streams of lava were slowly flowing down the sides of the volcano and I remember standing on volcanic rocks that were still quite hot. It was beautiful and energizing being so close to something so potentially powerful. We hiked up in the afternoon and down after dusk in the dark, all the better to see the glow of the lava, with torches lighting our path. The little store at the endpoint did brisk that business that evening as we all tried to replenish our depleted energy before the long bus ride back to Antigua.

On the way to Pacaya Volcano

On the way to Pacaya Volcano

Pacaya Volcano

Pacaya Volcano

Hot lava!

Hot lava!

The second time I visited with my friends Paul and Marina and the highlight was the day we spent on Lake Atitlan, a stunning lake surrounded by volcanoes. We got up early and took a car ride to Panajachel and then a boat to the stunning Casa del Mundo, a gorgeous hotel perched on a cliff over the lake. It’s accessible only by boat or by foot and that day there were only a few other guests. We swam in the crystal clear waters, lazed in the sun, and ate a delicious meal before we took the boat, and then car, back to our hotel. After that day of lazy, heavenly bliss, we were kicking ourselves that we didn’t stay there for longer. No question that I would do that again in an instant.

Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan

Look at that amazing blue!

Look at that amazing blue!

On the Cliffs of Lake Atitlan

On the Cliffs of Lake Atitlan

The great thing about Guatemala is that it is one of those places you can travel to on a shoestring budget and still feel like you’re travelling in luxury. I stayed in lovely little guesthouses both times, with beautiful furniture, lovely courtyards, and scrupulously clean and comfortable rooms. And although it is definitely a tourist magnet, it’s also has its charms and is so beautiful that it really is worth a visit. Plus, it’s fun. It’s the kind of place you can go and just disconnect for a while.

Archway

Archway

Fountain

Fountain in Antigua’s Parque Central

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

I don’t really remember what I ate in Guatemala, apart from lots of yummy seasoned black beans and rice and salads. But I do know I didn’t go hungry, at all!

Yellow makes me happy!

Yellow makes me happy!

So a kitty wanted some hugs...

So a kitty wanted some hugs and who am I to say no? 

Today I’m bringing a recipe for an easy, already vegan, sweet treat that I tried in Antigua called rellenitos de platano. Essentially, that translates to little plantain fatties!

Rellenitos de Platano

Rellenitos de Platano

They are essentially sweet plantains stuffed with black beans. The beans are prepared “volteados,” which means flipped. Essentially, you cook puréed black beans in a pan until they flip, or really, fold themselves into a cylinder. It looks funny, but they are really tasty. 

Black Beans Volteados

Black Beans Volteados

 

And they are really easy to make, especially if you are lazy like me and use canned black beans.  

Yummy!

Yummy!

And even though they are sweet, they are pretty much health food! 

Rellenitos de Platano
Yields 8
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Plaintains
  1. 4 ripe plantains
  2. 2 tbsps – ¼ cup coconut palm sugar (it may not be needed if your plantains are really sweet)
  3. 1 ½ tsps. cinnamon
  4. ¼ tsp vanilla powder
  5. pinch of salt
Beans
  1. 1 can of beans (about 2 cups)
  2. 1 tbsp coconut palm sugar
  3. 1/8 tsp allspice
  4. ¼ tsp cinnamon
  5. Pinch of salt
  6. ¼ cup water
  7. ½ cup masa
  8. Aroma-free coconut oil, for frying
Plantains
  1. Slice plantains into ½ inch discs.
  2. Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil, add plantains and boil for 15 minutes until yellow and fully cooked.
  3. Drain the plantains and transfer to a mixing bowl, and mash together with the cinnamon, vanilla powder and salt.
  4. Add sugar a tbsp. at a time, if needed, to taste.
Beans
  1. Drain and rinse beans.
  2. Add beans with ¼ cup of water, sugar, salt and spices to a blender and blend until smooth. Add more water as needed to blend, but you don't want to add too much, otherwise it will take longer to cook.
  3. Add a little aroma-free coconut oil to a pan and when hot add the bean mixture.
  4. Stir constantly using a wooden spoon until the mixture essentially folds itself into a cylinder and is pretty dry.
Putting them together
  1. Put your masa in a small bowl.
  2. Take a ¼ cup of the plantain mixture and roll it into a ball.
  3. Flatten the ball, press a dent into the middle and add a tbsp of your black bean mixture.
  4. Wrap the plantains around the black bean mixture.
  5. Roll the rellenito in the masa, set aside and repeat until you have used all of the plantain mixture.
  6. Once you have made all the rellenitos, heat a pan on medium-high.
  7. Add some coconut oil to the pan, just to give it a light coating.
  8. Add the rellenitos and sauté on each side until golden brown.
  9. Eat right away!
Vegan Sweet and Simple http://vegansweetandsimple.com/
I served mine with an easy pineapple salsa, which is not at all traditional or required. They are delicious all on their own! 

Mmmmmm!

Mmmmmm!

They are best served piping hot, fresh from the pan. But they refrigerate well and can be easily heated up, and I enjoyed more than one cold! Yum!

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Argentina: Raw Alfajores!

Posted by on Sep 24, 2014 in Recipes | 2 comments

Argentina: Raw Alfajores!

Argentina is the next and last stop in South America for our VeganMoFo world tour! 

It was eight long years ago that I visited Buenos Aires and I’m sure that in the intervening period much has changed, but much has probably remained the same.

I remember that I really enjoyed walking the streets of the city and exploring its neighborhoods. I loved the Recoleta Cemetery, with its rows and rows of elaborately decorated crypts and mausoleums, including that of Eva Peròn.

La Recoleta Cemetary

La Recoleta Cemetery

Kitty in Recoleta Cemetary

Kitty in Recoleta Cemetary

I loved shopping in Palermo for edgy designs and jewelry. I adored the sites and sounds of el Caminito, the tango, the colors! 

El Caminito

El Caminito

Evita!

Evita!

:)

:)

I remember feeling a bit of reverence walking through la Plaza de Mayo and seeing the memorials to Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo, who bravely walked through that square in silent protest wearing white headscarves and with pictures of their children, who were disappeared by the Argentine Military during the country’s Dirty War in the 70s. As many as 30,000 political dissidents, activists, and sympathizers by the thousands were subject to forced disappearance, many of them killed.  

Memorial to las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo

Memorial to las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo

I remember the beautiful Casa Rosada and thinking about that infamous (though historically unlikely) scene in Evita where Eva Peròn steps onto the balcony with her husband Juan after his release from prison. 

La Casa Rosada

La Casa Rosada

I remember being fascinated by Argentinians’ tradition of eating late at night (as in, restaurants don’t even open for dinner until 9) and my hungry tummy rumbling with anticipation. I tried a vegan soy milanesa (essentially soy flour mixed with wheat flour, breaded and fried) and was not impressed, but loved the delicious pasta dishes and gnocchi and fresh salads. It’s probably a good thing Argentinians have made Italian cuisine part of their own, because otherwise they really love their meat and dairy.  

Downtown Buenos Aires

Downtown Buenos Aires

Parliament

Parliament

I remember some great moments with friends; the wonderful meal my dear friends Javier and Arturo cooked for a few of us in their home, and I can’t believe that time has passed so quickly. 

And I remember seeing beautiful displays of freshly made alfajores in bakery after bakery, looking at them longingly and wishing that they were vegan. They weren’t of course and I went without. 

Raw alfajores with a nice big glass of coconut milk

Raw alfajores with a nice big glass of coconut milk

But today, nobody needs to go without, because these raw, vegan, and gluten-free alfajores are good for just about everybody! And the great thing about raw vegan desserts is that they take so little time to make. 

Yum!

Yum!

With whole foods ingredients and no refined sugars, these alfajores are almost good for you! But they taste decadently rich, with a creamy caramel filling sandwiched between two delicious, buttery cookies. Now before people say anything about my use of maple syrup, I follow the lead of other raw vegans who use it even though it’s not technically raw because it’s a better and healthier liquid sweetener than agave (which is also not technically raw). 

Raw Alfajores
Yields 10
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Dulce de Leche
  1. ½ cup coconut flakes
  2. ½ cup dates
  3. 1 tbsp coconut oil
  4. ¼ tsp salt
  5. 2 tbsps water (as needed)
Cookies
  1. ½ cup cashews
  2. ½ cup oat flour
  3. ¼ cup coconut flour
  4. 2 dates
  5. ¼ cup maple syrup
  6. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  7. ¼ tsp salt
  8. Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Dulce de Leche
  1. Add coconut flakes, dates, salt and coconut oil to food processor and process for about 10 minutes, until it thoroughly breaks down and forms a paste.
  2. If needed, add water a tbsp. at a time to form a smooth paste.
Cookies
  1. Add cashews to the food processor and process until you get a fine meal.
  2. Add oat flour, coconut flour, dates, maple syrup, vanilla extract and salt and process until you get a smooth, but thick dough.
  3. Remove dough from food processor and form into a ball.
  4. Dust some oat flour on your surface, and using a rolling pin flatten to about ¼ inch.
  5. Use a cup or cookie cutter to cut as many rounds as you can out of the dough.
  6. Roll remaining dough into a ball and repeat steps 3-5 until all dough has been used.
  7. Place in a dehydrator at 115 degrees for 2 hours, in an oven at the lowest setting and with the door slightly ajar for 30 mins to an hour, or just leave on your counter top uncovered for a few hours until the cookies are firm, but not completely dry.
Putting them together
  1. Take a cookie, smear a thick layer of dulce de leche, place another cookie on top.
  2. Dust with powdered sugar.
  3. Eat with abandon!
Vegan Sweet and Simple http://vegansweetandsimple.com/
Creamy raw goodness!

Creamy raw goodness!

These are so yummy, you won’t be able to eat just one!

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Chile: Panqueques con Manjar

Posted by on Sep 23, 2014 in Recipes | 4 comments

Chile: Panqueques con Manjar

Today we travel to the west coast of South America and visit Chile on our VeganMoFo world tour.

Okay, so I have been to Santiago twice, and neither of them recently. The first time was a just over ten years ago and I remember it distinctly because I was there when Chile adopted a law allowing divorce. Yes, you read that right. Until 2003, divorce was illegal in Chile. I was attending a regional meeting on sexual and reproductive health and rights and remember the absolute elation of Chilean feminists when they learned the news that they finally had attained that most basic of rights.

A view of Santiago, one of only a handful of pics I took there

A view of Santiago, one of only a handful of pics I took there

The last time I was there was in 2006. My favorite memory of that trip was deciding with friends at the last minute that we absolutely must see Manu Chao, who was touring the region at the time, and running to the record store to buy tickets the afternoon of the concert. I had no idea who Manu Chao was, but I was game, and I didn’t regret it for a second. It was one of the best shows I have ever been to! The venue was packed to overflowing with what must have been thousands of Chilean kids, who were so damned full of life. Manu Chao was on fire and played a solid two-hour set, while all the kids danced and sang along. I came home and promptly bought every Manu Chao album that ever existed and played Radio Bemba Sound System (my favorite) on repeat for probably a month or so afterward.

Somewhere in Santiago

Somewhere in Santiago

And those two anecdotes essentially describe how I experienced this country, its people, and its politics. On the one hand, it is deeply, deeply conservative. The Catholic Church is still pretty powerful and has a stranglehold on its politicians. It is one of the few countries where abortion is still illegal without any exception (although there is some movement that may lead to change). A couple of hours ago I just watched its President, Michele Bachelet, speak at a meeting at the UN that is primarily focused on sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality and manage to not utter any of those words even once. 

On the other hand, when I was there I loved the energy and the passion and the potential that exuded from the young people I met and hung out with (and let’s not forget, I was pretty young then myself). Just over a decade after the fall of Pinochet, the terror and repression of those dark days were still fresh in people’s minds. One of my own dear friends was exiled with her family in Canada as a child, before her family returned to Santiago after his fall. It felt as though its young people were embracing the freedom denied their parents with two arms.

So today I am bringing you a recipe that is quintessentially Chilean (okay, it’s pretty common across the region…): Panqueques con Manjar!

Yummy!

Yummy!

Manjar is the Chilean word for dulce de leche. I never actually tried it until I picked up a can of vegan dulce de leche in Brazil. But I’ve been intrigued by it ever since and until last weekend had never tried making my own. It took me four attempts to get this right, but on the fourth attempt I finally nailed it.

It is really easy to do, and if you prepare it the way I recommend, it takes less than an hour from start to finish. It takes just two ingredients: full fat, creamy canned coconut milk and coconut palm sugar. 

The trick with this vegan version is two things: getting the right coconut milk and knowing when to stop. First, look for a canned coconut milk with as few ingredients as possible: ideally just coconut and water, and perhaps guar gum. The best dulce de leche I made started from a can of Native Forest unsweetened organic coconut milk. 

Second, unlike traditional dulce de leche you don’t let it simmer until it becomes so thick you can turn a spoonful upside down and it will hold. No, you only simmer it until it becomes thick enough to leave a good (not too thin) coating on the back of a spoon (it took me about 45 minutes). 

Stop cooking the dulce de leche when it looks like this!

Stop cooking the dulce de leche when it looks like this!

Then you turn it off, pour into a bowl and let it cool to room temperature and then put it in the fridge for an hour or so to thicken up.

After it has cooled to room temperature

After it has cooled to room temperature

The coconut oil will help to set the dulce de leche and make it nice, thick, lighter in color, and oh so creamy. And if you’re like me and can’t wait, it’s still thick enough and yummy enough, to eat right away!

After being refrigerated for an hour

After being refrigerated for an hour

If you cook it for too much longer, the dulce de leche will continue to thicken, but will break and the coconut oil will separate. If that happens you can salvage it by letting it cool a little and blending it up until smooth. But the texture is not nearly as nice and I found that if you put it in the fridge then instead of a thick but gooey delight, it becomes rock hard.

Panqueques con manjar

Panqueques con manjar

So without further ado, here are two of the simplest recipes I have ever posted!

Manjar (Dulce de Leche)
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Total Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  2. ½ cup coconut palm sugar
Instructions
  1. Combine coconut milk and sugar in a saucepan.
  2. Heat on medium until the milk begins to boil.
  3. Reduce to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thick enough to leave a nice thick coating on the back of a spoon.
  4. Remove from heat and let sit on the counter, and then refrigerator for an hour or so, to thicken.
Vegan Sweet and Simple http://vegansweetandsimple.com/
The panqueques are actually crepes and contain just a handful of ingredients. 

Panqueques (Crepes)
Yields 9
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup gluten-free flour mix*
  2. 2 cups vegan milk
  3. ¼ tsp salt
  4. A little coconut oil for cooking
Instructions
  1. Sift flour and salt together.
  2. Add milk and mix until fluffy.
  3. Heat pan on medium, when hot turn down to medium-low and add a tiny touch of aroma-free coconut oil.
  4. Pour ¼ cup of batter in the pan and swirl the pan around so that the crepe mixture spreads out.
  5. Cook on one side until the edges begin to curl up, about 4-5 minutes.
  6. Carefully flip and cook on the other side for about a minute.
Notes
  1. * I use a gluten-free flour mix that is made of 2 cups of Bob's Red Mill all-purpose gluten-free flour, 1/2 cup of arrowroot powder and 11/2 tsps xanthan gum.
Vegan Sweet and Simple http://vegansweetandsimple.com/
Spread some dulce de leche on ½ a crepe. Fold the crepe in half, and then half again. Or cover the entire crepe in dulce de leche and roll it up! 

Oh yes please!

Oh yes please!

I can’t think of a sweeter way to start your day! Thank you Chile for bestowing us with this deliciousness!

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Brazil: Empadão Sem Frango (Chicken-free Pie, Brazilian Style)

Posted by on Sep 22, 2014 in Recipes | 4 comments

Brazil: Empadão Sem Frango (Chicken-free Pie, Brazilian Style)

Good morning! Today on VeganMoFo we head to Latin America, the Caribbean and maybe North America. We start in the largest and most populous country of the region: Brazil.

I’ve only been to Brazil once, but it was enough to whet my appetite. I spent some time in Sao Paulo, where they have an amazing vegan scene, and then I headed north to the quieter coastal city of Recife and stunning Olinda, a UNESCO world heritage site.

The crowds at Sao Paulo Pride

The crowds at Sao Paulo Pride

Brazil Sao Paulo Pride

One of the many floats at Sao Paulo Pride

Sao Paulo is a thriving city with an incredible energy and creativity.  I was lucky to be there for Sao Paulo Pride, reputed to be among the world’s largest pride parade.  Despite the fact that it was rainy and a little cool, thousands of people thronged the streets, celebrating diversity and love.  That day I was invited to a private party on a balcony overlooking the parade, which was organized by a local group working to address HIV.  The price of entry was a bag of rice. It felt like we were on a secret mission of sorts. I remember searching for a grocery store in the middle of downtown Sao Paulo with a friend, buying my bag of rice, and lugging it with me through the streets of the city to the party.  It took us a while to find the right door to the closed mall above which the party was taking place, and then we had to show our wares to get in. The party was fun, but it felt a bit removed from the energy below, and so we lingered a while and then went downstairs to explore.

There are a good number of vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Sao Paulo, which probably shouldn’t be a surprise, but it was to me.  There was one place I ate at twice that served a completely vegan buffet packed with Brazilian cuisine, like feijoada. Oh my! It was pretty amazing. It also had a neat store attached, which sold cans of vegan dulce de leche, among other goods. But some of its vegetarian restaurants weren’t so vegan friendly. One night I went to a restaurant called Banana Verde, which had only a few vegan options at the time. When I asked for recommendations, the waitress suggested pupunha. So I ordered it.  It was actually a complete piece of a palm: I had to cut through the tough outer edge to get to the soft heart! I love hearts of palm, but this was the strangest, albeit most natural presentation I could imagine.  

A lovely lion on the beach of Recife

A lovely lion on the beach of Recife

On the beach on a rainy day in Recife

On the beach on a rainy day in Recife

Flowers on the dunes

Flowers on the dunes

Amazing colors

Amazing colors

Recife is a much quieter city, and although I was there for almost as long as I was in Sao Paulo, I can’t really say I got much of a feel for it.  The beaches were gorgeous, pristine. But it was rainy and cold much of my visit there and everything is pretty spread out.

A kitty in Olinda

A kitty in Olinda

Olinda Carnivale Puppets

Olinda Carnival Puppets

A windy, colorful street in Olinda

A windy, colorful street in Olinda

Old and New

Old and New

Fowers

Flowers

Olinda, on the other hand, was gorgeously stunning. I spent a day there walking through its curvy, narrow, hilly streets. 

Carnivale Mural, Olinda

Carnival Mural, Olinda

Birds

Birds

Art is everywhere

Art is everywhere

Wall in Olinda

Wall in Olinda

Carnival Cow!

Carnival Cow!

I adored its colorful buildings, old churches and the art that is absolutely everywhere you turn.  It’s definitely a wonderful place to spend a day, or two, or more.

Window

Window

Street art

Street art

A decaying church...

A decaying church…

A door in Olinda

A door in Olinda

The beach at Olinda

The beach at Olinda

I wasn’t sure what to make for Brazil, but when I started researching the cuisine, this Brazilian style “chicken” pie kept popping out at me again and again. 

Potpie Brazilian Style!

Potpie Brazilian Style!

 It’s like a potpie, but with just a little gravy. Some make it with a crumb topping (I have); others top it with additional pastry. 

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

I knew that with the fabulous Beyond Meat, which shreds nicely when warm, I could get a texture and taste that would be scarily close to the original, and so I had to try my hand at making one. 

Shredded Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips

Shredded Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips

From start to finish, this is the quickest savory pie I have ever made.  And it is delicious! 

Yum!

Yum!

Empadão Sem Frango
Yields 4
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Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Dough
  1. 2 cups gluten-free flour mix
  2. ½ cup cornmeal, divided
  3. 2 tsps coconut palm sugar
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. ½ tsp baking powder
  6. ½ cup cold earth balance buttery sticks or vegetable shortening
  7. ½ - ¾ cups ice cold water
  8. 2 tsps apple cider vinegar
Filling
  1. 1 package of Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips
  2. ½ medium onion, diced
  3. 1 tsp dried rosemary
  4. 2 cups vegetable broth
  5. 1 tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  6. ¼ cup fresh or frozen peas
  7. ¼ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  8. ½ cup hearts of palm, sliced
  9. Salt and pepper to taste
  10. Grapeseed oil for sautéing
Dough
  1. Mix together flour, a ¼ cup of cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder.
  2. Using the paddle attachment on your mixer or a pastry cutter, mix in earth balance a little at a time until the dough becomes crumbly.
  3. Mix together vinegar and ½ cup of the ice cold water.
  4. Add to the dough a little at a time until it holds together well between your fingers. You may need to add up to ¼ cup of additional water, especially since gluten-free flours tend to be drier, but be careful not to add too much.
  5. Press into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and let the dough rest in the fridge for half an hour.
Filling
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Put a little grapeseed oil in a pan, and when hot add the beyond meat strips.
  3. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, until they soften and begin to brown.
  4. Turn off the heat and using your fingers (or a fork, though that didn't work so well for me), shred the strips. You should have a bit over two cups of shredded “chicken” by the end of it.
  5. Turn your pan on again and add a little more grapeseed oil, if needed.
  6. Add the onion to the pan along with the rosemary and sauté until the onion is soft and rosemary fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.
  7. Add the shredded strips back to the pan.
  8. Mix the vegetable broth with the arrowroot powder and pour into the pan.
  9. Add corn, peas and hearts of palm.
  10. Once the sauce thickens, turn off the heat.
Finishing it off
  1. Take the dough out of the fridge and divide into 4 if using 4-inch spring-form pans, or leave whole if using a 10-inch spring form pan. Regardless of what you use, you want a deep dish for this pie.
  2. Take ¾ of each piece of dough and press it into the bottom and sides of the pan until it covers the pan evenly, about 1/8 to ¼ inch thick.
  3. Take the remaining dough and add a couple of tablespoons and up to a ¼ cup of the remaining cornmeal to make a crumble.
  4. Ladle the pie filling into the pan until it is almost full.
  5. Top with the crumble.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes until the crust is a nice, golden brown.
Vegan Sweet and Simple http://vegansweetandsimple.com/
I can see myself making this pie again and again because it is so quick and easy (compared to a potpie) and tastes so good.  What a treat! I served it with a delicious, but simple salad, with avocado and lemon-massaged kale, cherry tomatoes, and hearts of palm, topped with a little salt and pepper. 

The crumb got everywhere on this one, but still! Yum!

The crumb got everywhere on this one, but still! Yum!

This is pretty much the definition of comfort food! 

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