Tag Archives: breakfast

Road Trip: Smoked Shitakes, Avocado Toast and More Adventures

Avocado Toast & Smoked Shitakes

Sometimes my recipes feel like a road trip. There may be a detour along the way or sometimes I just take the scenic route. It may be a long and winding road, but eventually I get to my destination. Last week I experimented with making smoked shitake mushrooms to replicate the flavor of bacon. Okay, it’s not bacon, but it did come out smoky, slightly sweet and salty . . . and tasty. Since I’m not a tofu scramble kind of girl and I’m quite happy with my E.L.T. sandwiches, I wasn’t sure what to do with the smoked shitakes. I packed them up and put them in the fridge. Every time I opened that refrigerator door I got a whiff of smokey goodness coming from the container of mushrooms. Fast forward a few days. We took a road trip last the weekend to Old Town Alexandria and had breakfast at Le Pain Quouidien. (BTW, this is an excellent place for plant foodies.) I ordered the avocado toast, which seems to be trendy these days. Actually, I think I might be on the tail-end of this trend, but better late than never. The avocado toast was quite nice and thought I’d like to try it at home. And then I remembered the smoked shitakes. And the hard-cooked egg taste of black salt. Hmmmm. I toasted a slice of whole grain bread, spread on some smashed avocado, a sprinkle of black salt, a few slices of avocado, several slivers of smoked shitakes and some cherry tomatoes. Every bite was a little bit creamy, crunchy, smoky, sweet and salty all at once. I had more smoked shitakes remaining and figured I’d be eating avocado toast all week, but I’m fueling up for some more adventure. Be sure to check back for a Smoked Shitake-Cashew Sauce (great on potatoes and veggies) and a Creamy Carbonara Pasta. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Smoked Shitakes

Note: You will get a better flavor by smoking the mushrooms in a stove-top smoker. Instructions are provided below the recipe.

10 oz. shitake mushrooms
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
½ teaspoon vegetable oil

Remove stems from mushrooms. Slice mushrooms into strips about 1/4 inch thick. (See instructions below for using a stove-top smoker.) *Toss with brown sugar, soy sauce, pepper and liquid smoke. Coat a non-stick skillet with vegetable oil and heat over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are about the same texture as cooked bacon and have a glaze-like coating. Remove and cool completely. Place in covered container and refrigerate until ready to use.

To smoke the mushrooms in a stove-top smoker:

Smoke the mushrooms BEFORE proceeding with the recipe instructions after the asterisk.

Follow the manufacturer’s directions and smoke the mushrooms for 10 to 15 minutes. You only need a about 2 tablespoons of fine chips or a small chunk of smoking wood. You can taste the mushrooms after 10 minutes and if not smoky enough, continue smoking for another 5 minutes. Proceed with the recipe after the asterisk.

If you don’t have a dedicated smoker you can rig one up by using an old pot that has a heavy bottom with a tight-fitting cover and a collapsible steamer basket. Heat the smoker over medium heat. Add a small amount of hickory smoking chips. Place the basket over the chips and add the mushrooms to the basket. Place the cover on the pot and smoke the mushrooms for 10 to 15 minutes.

01 Jul 2017

Madness to My Method: Mint-Chocolate Smoothie

Mint Chocolate Smoothie

Mint Chocolate Smoothie

There’s a saying that goes “there’s a method to my madness” which means that there is purpose in what one is doing, even though it seems to be crazy. Today’s post is a peek into how my mind works, which I like to think of as the “madness to my method.” A recipe for a mint chocolate chip smoothie popped up on one of my Facebook groups a few weeks ago and it stirred up memories from when I was making my own dairy ice cream. Mint chocolate chip was one of my favorite flavors. Boy, could I go for some right now. So, the recipe that inspired my latest obsession contained fresh mint for flavor and a handful of spinach for color. I don’t know about you, but milk and spinach doesn’t do it for me. One of the first things I discovered about home-made mint ice cream, unlike most commercial ones, is that it’s not green. My approach was to create a smoothie that had a hint of mint and an ice cream-like feeling. I tried a version using frozen peas for what I thought would add a creamy thickness. (Yuk!) I tried using sweet rice as a thickener. I had to soak the rice overnight and steam it the next day, which proved to be too much advance planning for a smoothie. This also resulted in a more “gooey” and less creamy consistency. The chocolate chips were another problem. If I blended them with the other ingredients, they disappeared. When I added them in during the last few seconds they sunk to the bottom of the glass.The flavor of the fresh mint fell flat, so I sent away for a bottle of pure mint extract and put the testing on hold for a few days. While waiting for my shipment to arrive I couldn’t stop thinking about this recipe. What if . . . I just added the mint extract to my go-to cinnamon bun smoothie? What if . . .  I used brown rice instead of sweet rice? What if . . .  I just start from scratch? And the chocolate . . . what if I shave it and stir it in when ready to serve? By the time the extract arrived, I had it sorted out: almond milk, banana, dates, brown rice, oatmeal, mint extract and chocolate shavings. I tend to over-blend my smoothies to get them extra creamy, but that also makes them warm. I find that refrigerating them for a few hours allows the milk to absorb the starch from the oats and rice making for a thicker smoothie. A thicker smoothie helps the chocolate shavings maintain their buoyancy. All of this obsessing paid off with a Mad Good Mint Chocolate Smoothie that’s smooth, creamy, slightly sweet with a tinge of mint and specked with chocolate. Mix up your own batch of blissful madness today. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Mint Chocolate Smoothie

Makes one or two servings

1-½ cups almond milk
1 large frozen banana, sliced
¼ cup old fashioned oats
¼ cup cooked brown rice
4 pitted dates
1/8 teaspoon mint extract
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Shaved chocolate

Combine all of the ingredients, except the shaved chocolate, in a high-speed blender and process until smooth. Pour into a glass and stir in shaved chocolate. If you would like a thicker smoothie you can place in the refrigerator for a few hours.

05 Apr 2017

Why Not?: Kookie Scones

Kookie Skone

Kookie Scone

I’ve been hankering for chocolate chip cookies lately, but just haven’t gotten around to making them. Why not? I really didn’t feel like dealing with the mixer. The bowls. The measuring cups and spoons. The baking sheets. The cooling racks. The clean-up. As I was thinking about what to have for breakfast this morning, I wondered if I could make a breakfast cookie that’s made using a minimal amount of ingredients, equipment and effort that would satisfy my chocolate chip cookie craving and still be considered “breakfast”. I was shooting for a cross between a cookie and a scone. I think I scored a bull’s eye. I ground whole oats, sugar and baking soda in a food processor, then added in the wet ingredients and folded in some chips and nuts before shaping and baking. What came out of the oven were two warm, chewy and slightly sweet Kookie Scones. And you know, I just couldn’t stop myself. Before I’d even gotten half way through one of these delights I was already thinking about some variations. What if . . . . I substituted the chocolate chips with raisins and added some cinnamon? And what about . . . nixing the chocolate chips for dried cranberries and using almonds, orange zest and ground nutmeg? What about . . .  Ripe Bananas? Applesauce? Pumpkin? Peanut Butter? Coconut? Why not, indeed! Well, I have a hobby for a few weeks. I enjoyed my Kookie Scone warm out of the oven, but these could be made ahead of time to add to a child’s, or your own, lunch box. Why not make a few Kookie Scones today? Why not? Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Kookie Scones

1 Tablespoon flax meal
¼ cup non-dairy milk

1 cup whole oats
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt (optional)
2 Tablespoons almond butter
½ teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
2 Tablespoons chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Measure non-dairy milk into liquid measuring cup. Add flax meal and set aside.

Place nuts in food processor and pulse a few times to coarsely chop the nuts. Remove from food processor and set aside. Place oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt into the food processor. Process on high until oats are finely ground. Add flax mixture, almond butter and extract and pulse to combine. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts. Using wet hands, divide dough in half and shape into two mounds about 1” thick and 4” in diameter. Place on parchment paper, then place in oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Bottoms of cookies should be light brown. Remove and serve warm or at room temperature.

Variations:

1. Replace chocolate chips with raisins and add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of cinnamon.

2. Replace chocolate chips with dried cranberries and add 1 tablespoon of orange zest and ¼ to ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg.

 

26 Nov 2016

Winterized Yogurt: Baked Apple Ala Mode

Baked Apple & Soy Yogurt

Baked Apple & Soy Yogurt

There’s a chill in the air which means I’m using my oven almost every day. If I turn on the oven to roast vegetables I’ll try to squeeze in some sweet potatoes or apples to get the most out of my energy consumption. When I was a child we always went apple picking with my grandparents, and I remember my grandmother making baked apples in the following weeks. Sometimes she would serve them warm with a scoop of ice cream, and that got me thinking about yogurt. We usually add fresh berries to yogurt. Even though we can get “fresh” berries any time of the year they are not in-season now, and frozen berries just don’t cut it for me. I need to figure out how to “winterize” my yogurt. While I was packing up Bruce’s lunch this morning, I remembered those left-over baked apples. (If you cook on a regular basis there’s always some hidden treasure in your fridge.) So I chopped up the apple, sprinkled on some cinnamon, and flavored the yogurt with a little sugar and vanilla. It looked so tasty that I had to have it for breakfast. I warmed the apple in the microwave before spooning on a healthy portion of yogurt. You can dress it up by adding granola, muesli or chopped nuts. With the holidays coming, this would make a nice addition to a weekend brunch. There’s no recipe for baking apples. You simply place cored, unpeeled apples in a baking dish, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar if desired, add a little water and bake at 350F until soft. Baking time depends on the size and variety of apple and how soft you like them. You can use your favorite store-bought yogurt or make your own following the guidelines in a previous post. There’s no time like the present to winterize your yogurt. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

03 Nov 2016

Make Every Meal Count: Glorious Morning Oatmeal Bake

Glorious Oatmeal Bake

Glorious Oatmeal Bake

There is a popular belief that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I’m of the belief that every meal is the most important meal of the day. Since adopting a plant-based diet, breakfast has become the least favorite meal for me. I used to do a rotation of egg and cheese sandwiches, bagels with cream cheese or ricotta on toast. I rarely ate cold cereal and my oatmeal consumption was in the form of cookies. Since I don’t like to play favorites, I wanted to find a way to enjoy breakfast and give it the same priority as lunch or dinner. It’s no secret that I am a sweet lover and have spent much of my time in the kitchen making desserts of all kinds. If there’s any way that food will win me over, it’s sure to be in that arena. This recipe started out with oats, carrots, apples, almond milk, raisins, walnuts and maple syrup then evolved with the addition of dates and an orange. I topped it off by sweetening some almond milk yogurt (from The Gentle Chef’s Nuts About Almonds recipe collection) with maple syrup. The final version was slightly sweet, chewy, moist, crunchy around the edges and oh, so satisfying. What’s nice about this recipe is that it can easily be adapted to your taste. You can eliminate the orange, add more milk, bake it more or less, use different nuts or none at all, or use any spices you like. You can prep it the night before and bake it the next morning. The leftovers taste great at room temperature or re-heated in the microwave, making it easy to take to work if you’re running late. And it’s perfect for a big crowd if you’re expecting overnight guests for the holidays. Make your breakfast count by starting your day with a Glorious Morning Oatmeal Bake and thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Glorious Morning Oatmeal Bake

Makes 3 to 4 servings

Non-dairy yogurt and maple syrup for serving

2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 carrot, grated
1 small apple, grated with skin
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1 cup non-dairy milk
1 orange, zested, peeled and separated into segments
½ cup dates
1 Tablespoon flax meal
nutmeg to taste
½ cup water (or more milk)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Stir together non-dairy yogurt and maple syrup in a small bowl and set aside.

In an 8″ square baking pan stir together oats, carrots, apple, raisins and nuts. Place milk, orange zest and segments, dates, flax meal and nutmeg in blender and process on high for about 1 minute. Add water and pulse to combine. (You can prep to this point ahead of time and place the baking dish and blender container in the fridge overnight.) Pour over oats and stir to combine, adding more water if necessary.  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes and remove from oven. Spoon into serving bowls and add a dollop of maple-sweetened yogurt.

*Note: if you want to double the recipe, use a 9″x11″ baking pan.

22 Oct 2016

We Have No Bananas: Baked Plantains

Baked Plantains for Almond Milk Yogurt

Baked Plantains for Almond Milk Yogurt

Plantain — is it a fruit or a vegetable? Technically, it’s part of the genus Musa, which also contains bananas. However, plantains are starchier than bananas and not as sweet. A staple in Central and South America and the Caribbean, a popular way to serve plantains is as side dish of fried tostones or maduras. I’ve had them prepared this way once or twice. It’s basically a sponge for oil. Plantains have several health benefits as they are high in fiber and contain potassium; vitamins A, C, B and the minerals iron, magnesium, and phosphorous. Why ruin a good thing by cooking them in oil? Well, you don’t have to. Bruce learned about this method of baking plantains from Chef Ramses Bravo at the True North Health Center. It’s as easy as:

One: Buy a few plantains and let them ripen until the skin is completely black. You can start off with whatever shade is available — green (least ripe); yellow (almost ripe); black (ripe and ready).

Two: Place on a rimmed baking sheet or a piece of aluminum foil with it’s edges turned up. (You’ll want to catch every gooey drop of plantain syrup that oozes from the plantain.) Bake at 350F until the skin splits open (see picture below), about 15 minutes.

Three: When the skin splits and the contents start to bust out, remove the plantains from the oven and enjoy as is.

Baked Plantain

Baked Plantain

If  you’re looking to “complicate” your meal prep, you can top off your baked plantain with some non-dairy yogurt and granola as a breakfast treat; enjoy it as a dessert with chia pudding; or serve it alongside your favorite bean burger.

So healthy, so sweet and so simple. You have no bananas? Then try baking some plantains today. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

02 Oct 2016

Vegi-curious Adventures: Plant-Based Guide to Quebec City

Berries at Marche Vieux-Port

Berries at Marche Vieux-Port

Bruce and I spent our honeymoon in Quebec City 15 years ago. We got married at the end of July and wanted to go someplace where we could hold hands without sticking to one another. I was thinking that a train ride across Canada would be romantically fun. Thankfully, our travel agent talked us into going to Quebec City. We loved it and have been back so many times that I lost count. This year is the first time we would travel to Quebec City as herbivores and were somewhat apprehensive about the food. Quebecois cuisine is very French and very meat-centric with elk, caribou, wapiti, fois gras, lobster, duck, cheese, cream and butter making regular appearances on the menus at our favorite restaurants. One interesting aspect about Quebec City is that there always seems to be an abundance of fresh produce at the Marche du Vieux-Port, so we figured we could rely on that if we got desperate. We decided to throw apprehension to the wind and made our reservations.

In preparation for the long drive, I packed up some oatmeal-apple muffins (recipe at the bottom of this post) and hummus with veggies and pita crisps. I figured it would be wise to eat as cleanly as possible to offset any lapses we might have once we set foot in Quebec. We were so exhausted and hungry by the time we arrived that we walked to the closest sushi bar for dinner. (You can always rely on vegetable sushi in a pinch just about anywhere you travel.)

We fueled up for our daily walking excursions at the hotel’s breakfast buffet. First, a plate of mixed greens, dried fruit, nuts and seeds; then on to fresh melon, pineapple, bananas and kiwis; followed by raisin or multi-grain toast with peanut butter or a variety of local berry preserves. Every other day they would put out tasty little almond bars. I resolved to make a plant-based version upon our return and will post that very soon.

Quebec City is the only walled city in North America. A typical day was to walk within the walls, then down to lower Quebec and along the water. Many of the stores sell products that are made in the Province of Quebec and it’s a great way to check out the menus for dinner. Some days we would walk around the Citadel, the Plains of Abraham or the Grand Allee. We made it to Quebec City just in time to catch the last day of the Plein Arts festival on the waterfront and the first day of the Fete de Biere (brew fest). We planned our walks so as to stop at the Marche du Vieux-Port to pick up lunch. The Marche du Vieux-Port is a farmers’ market near the Bassin Louise. All of the produce vendors sell berries from the I’le de Orleans. (I’ll write about this lovely island in a separate post.) I found tasty prepared food at La Tomaterie. Their quinoa, couscous and bean salads were a staple for our lunches and the Tarte Vegetarien was a special treat. Local vineyards offer tastings of their wines that are also available for purchase. With a shopping bag full of goodness, we’d head up the hill to our hotel for a well-deserved lunch and afternoon nap.

Bean Salad & Couscous Salad

Bean Salad & Couscous Salad

Tarte Vegetarien

Tarte Vegetarien

In  my next post, I will share our favorite restaurants and the most memorable meal of our Quebec City vacation. You won’t want to miss it, so be sure to check back. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Apple & Oatmeal Muffin

Apple & Oatmeal Muffin

Apple-Oatmeal Muffins

Makes 18 muffins

Notes: the muffins are a little sweet, so you might want to adjust the amount of dates and/or maple syrup. If the apples have a lot of juice, you can either squeeze out the excess or reduce the amount of aquafaba or water.

1 cup whole oats
1 cup brown rice flour or whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt

¾ to1 cup dates
¼ cup almond butter
½ cup non-dairy milk
¼ to ½ cup maple syrup
6 tablespoons aquafaba or water
1 tablespoon flax meal
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups grated apples
1 cup walnuts, chopped
½ cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350F. Place cupcake liners into muffin pan.

In a large bowl whisk together oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In food processor, combine dates, almond butter, milk, syrup, aquafaba, flax meal and vanilla. Add in apples and walnuts and stir to combine

Using a large ice cream scoop, fill liners ¾ the way full. Bake for 20 minutes.

23 Aug 2016

Make it a Good Morning: Egg-less Breakfast Sandwich

Egg-less Breakfast Sandwich

Egg-less Breakfast Sandwich

Breakfast can be a challenge for some people making the transition from meat and dairy to plant-based eating. Many of us grew up eating eggs for breakfast. Eggs as eggs, eggs in omelettes, eggs in French toast, eggs in pancakes. One of my favorite breakfasts was an egg and cheese sandwich on an English muffin or everything bagel. I’ve been experimenting with tofu scrambles lately and happened to have a small amount left over from a few days ago. I pressed about one-inch worth of the scramble into a small ramekin, sprinkled some non-dairy cheese on top, microwaved it for about 1 minute and placed it on a toasted English muffin. One bite and I was hooked. This is another recipe that’s not a recipe at all. You can find my tofu scramble recipe here or use one of your own, add your non-dairy cheese of choice and serve it on your favorite English muffin, bagel or bread. This little breakfast sandwich will give you something worth getting out of bed for. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

 

30 Jul 2016

Make Every Meal Count: Glorious Morning Oatmeal Bake

Glorious Oatmeal Bake

Glorious Oatmeal Bake

There is a popular belief that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I’m of the belief that every meal is the most important meal of the day. Since adopting a plant-based diet, breakfast has become the least favorite meal for me. I used to do a rotation of egg and cheese sandwiches, bagels with cream cheese or ricotta on toast. I rarely ate cold cereal and my oatmeal consumption was in the form of cookies. Since I don’t like to play favorites, I wanted to find a way to enjoy breakfast and give it the same priority as lunch or dinner. It’s no secret that I am a sweet lover and have spent much of my time in the kitchen making desserts of all kinds. If there’s any way that food will win me over, it’s sure to be in that arena. This recipe started out with oats, carrots, apples, almond milk, raisins, walnuts and maple syrup then evolved with the addition of dates and an orange. I topped it off by sweetening some almond milk yogurt (from The Gentle Chef’s Nuts About Almonds recipe collection) with maple syrup. The final version was slightly sweet, chewy, moist, crunchy around the edges and oh, so satisfying. What’s nice about this recipe is that it can easily be adapted to your taste. You can eliminate the orange, add more milk, bake it more or less, use different nuts or none at all, or use any spices you like. You can prep it the night before and bake it the next morning. The leftovers taste great at room temperature or re-heated in the microwave, making it easy to take to work if you’re running late. Make your breakfast count by starting your day with a Glorious Morning Oatmeal Bake and thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Glorious Morning Oatmeal Bake

Makes 3 to 4 servings

Non-dairy yogurt and maple syrup for serving

2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 carrot, grated
1 small apple, grated with skin
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1 cup non-dairy milk
1 orange, zested, peeled and separated into segments
½ cup dates
1 Tablespoon flax meal
nutmeg to taste
½ cup water (or more milk)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Stir together non-dairy yogurt and maple syrup in a small bowl and set aside.

In a small baking dish stir together oats, carrots, apple, raisins and nuts. Place milk, orange zest and segments, dates, flax meal and nutmeg in blender and process on high for about 1 minute. Add water and pulse to combine. (You can prep to this point ahead of time and place the baking dish and blender container in the fridge overnight.) Pour over oats and stir to combine. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes and remove from oven. Spoon into serving bowls and add a dollop of maple-sweetened yogurt.

 

 

22 May 2016

No Pork, Just Beans: BBQ Beans with Baked Polenta

BBQ Beans & Polenta

BBQ Beans & Polenta

If  you’re looking for something different for breakfast, try BBQ Beans with Baked Polenta. I had some leftover polenta rounds from last night and thought they might be nice smothered with some sweet and smoky beans. The beans were simmered in tomato paste, apple cider, barbeque seasonings, liquid smoke, maple syrup and molasses. You could replace the apple cider with water or replace all of the water with apple cider and omit the maple syrup. I used the polenta recipe from the Vegan Under Pressure cookbook and used mini tart pans to form the rounds. You can bake or broil the polenta on parchment paper, char it on an outdoor grill or brown it in a non-stick skillet. You can even use pre-made polenta logs from the store. This recipe is versatile enough to have for breakfast, lunch or dinner or just as a side dish. You can even make a big pot to bring to a summer barbeque. So, dig in and thanks for being Vegi-curious.

BBQ Beans over Polenta Rounds

makes 2 to 3 servings

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ can tomato paste
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup apple cider or juice (or water)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons molasses
  • ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans, drained
  • several polenta rounds or squares

Heat a small saucepot over medium heat. Add onions and dry saute until lightly browned, adding water if necessary to prevent sticking. Add tomato paste, water, cider, liquid smoke, molasses, maple syrup and all spices. Bring to boil and simmer about five minutes. Add beans and continue to simmer until sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place polenta slices on paper. Bake for about 10 minutes, until polenta starts to brown. Remove and top with beans.

10 May 2016

%d bloggers like this: