Archive for May, 2010

(Disclaimer: WARNING – may become addictive)

This is a pretty loose recipe. Use your favorite chocolate for melting (I used Whole Foods semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips. I find they have a par-excellent better chocolate flavor than almost any non-vegan chip I’ve tried). For the cheesecake filling, I found a great no-bake non-dairy cheesecake recipe here. And use the biggest, reddest, sweetest strawberries you can find.

Start this recipe a couple of hours before you’re ready to eat, as you need time for the chocolate shell to harden and get nice and cold. Plus you want to prepare your cheesecake filling and refrigerate that, too, for a couple of hours beforehand.

Eat these at  your own risk.

Chocolate-covered cheesecake-stuffed strawberries

1 quart of large, red, sweet strawberries (this will make you about 2 dozen little desserts), washed and patted dry

1 12-ounce bag of your favorite semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon canola oil

your favored non-bake cheesecake recipe (see mine below)

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.

In a medium saucepan, add the chocolate chips and the oil, and stir over medium-low heat until completely melted. Then, grab a strawberry by the stem and dip it in the melted chocolate, covering it 3/4 of the way towards the stem. Let any excess chocolate quickly drip off, then sit the strawberry on the waxed paper baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the strawberries. Place the baking sheet with strawberries in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

Meanwhile, prepare your cheesecake.

1 box extra-firm silken tofu

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons Tofutti cream cheese

1 1/2 tablespoons agar-agar flakes

3/4 cup almond milk

1/3 cup sugar

Place the tofu, lemon juice, salt, vanilla, and cream cheese in the bowl of your food processor, and process until smooth, scraping down the sides if necessary.

In a medium saucepan, heat the almond milk with the sugar and bring up to a simmer. Add the agar-agar and lower the heat to just below simmer. Simmer until the agar-agar has completely softened and blended into the almond milk. This took 15 minutes for me. Remove from heat, let it sit for 1 minute, then add in a slow stream to the tofu mixture in the food processor, while pulsing til smooth and completely blended. Place in a bowl and refrigerate for a couple of hours, covered.

To stuff the strawberries: Cut off the stem of the strawberry, then take your knife and hollow out the inside. Take a healthy spoonful of cheesecake and fill the strawberry. Repeat til all strawberries are stuffed.


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I actually used Japanese eggplants for the recipe – they’re kinda pale purple and streaked with white. The flavors in this dish are delicious. I’m a real sucker for anything Middle-Eastern.

Lebanese style stuffed eggplant (as seen in Gourmet and Smitten Kitchen)

6 5-6″ long eggplants (about 6 ounces each)

1/2 cup long grain or jasmine rice

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons pine nuts

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 cups chicken broth

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice

3/4 pound ground turkey

1 teaspoon allspice

1/2 lemon

3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Hollow out each eggplant with a melon-ball cutter, working from bottom end and leaving about 1/3″ eggplant flesh along interior walls. Rinse rice in a sieve under cold water until water runs clear. Drain well.

Heat oil in a 12″ heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Fry pine nuts, stirring frequently, until golden, about 3 minutes, then transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Saute onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until golden, 6-8 minutes. Transfer 1/2 cup onion mixture to bowl with pine nuts. Add broth, tomatoes, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to skillet and simmer, uncovered, while stuffing eggplant.

Add rice, meat, allspice, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to bowl with onion mixture and mix well with your hands.

Stuff eggplant with meat mixture, being careful not to pack tightly (rice will expand during cooking). Transfer stuffed eggplants to skillet with tomato sauce and simmer, covered, carefully turning once or twice, until rice is cooked through, 50-60 minutes.

If sauce is watery, transfer eggplant to a plate and boil sauce, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, 3-5 minutes. Return stuffed eggplant to sauce. Squeeze lemon over dish and sprinkle with parsley before serving. Makes 6 servings.

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I just love risotto. This “spring” version has some of my favorite veggies in it. Dairy substitutions applied by me.

Asparagus, artichoke, and shiitake risotto

5 cups chicken broth

1 cup water

1 pound thin to medium asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/4″ thick slices, leaving tips 1 1/2″ long

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 stick margarine

3/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps cut into 1/4″ thick slices

4 jarred artichoke hearts with stems, drained and sliced into 1/4″ thick slices

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cut grated soy parmesan

Bring broth and water to a boil in a 4 quart pot. Add asparagus and cook, uncovered, until crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes. Transfer asparagus with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, then drain and pat dry. Keep broth at a bare simmer, covered.

Heat oil with 1 tablespoon margarine in a heavy saucepan over moderately high heat, then saute mushrooms, stirring constantly, until browned, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a bowl.

Cook onion in 2 tablespoons margarine in saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed, about 1 minute.

Ladle in 1 cup simmering broth and cook at a strong simmer, stirring, until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue simmering and adding broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until rice is just tender and looks creamy, 18-20 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup soy parmesan, remaining tablespoon margarine, and salt and pepper to taste. Gently stir in asparagus, artichokes, and mushrooms, then cover pan and let stand 1 minute. If desired, thin risotto with some of remaining broth. Makes 4 servings.

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You can’t see it very well in this photo, but there’s a cooked egg nesting in the middle of this slice of Italian bread. Charm & Salt blog posted this recipe from Rachel Ray, and it lent itself splendidly to a nondairy adaptation. Great meal!

Baked birds in nest

1 loaf Italian bread

5 tablespoons margarine

3 cloves garlic, 1 crushed and 2 chopped

salt and ground pepper

1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped

1/4 cup grated soy parmesan

6 eggs

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely diced

2 15-ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes

1/2 cup basil, torn

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small pot over low heat, melt the margarine with the crushed garlic clove. Using a pastry brush, brush the inside of a casserole dish with some of the melted margarine to keep the eggs from sticking.

Cut 6 1″ slices from the loaf of bread. Cut a hole into the middle of each, about 1″ in diameter. Place the slices of bread into the casserole dish.

Using a pastry brush, brush each of the slices of bread with the melted garlic/margarine, then sprinkle with parsley and soy parmesan.

Crack an egg into a small bowl and pour it into one of the bread holes. Repeat until all the bread “nests” are filled with an egg. Being careful not to disturb the eggs in their nests, place them into the oven and bake until soft or medium hard, 10-15 minutes, depending how runny you like your eggs.

Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium-high heat with the olive oil, cook the onion and chopped garlic until tender. Add in the cans of tomatoes and let cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. To serve, spoon a puddle of tomato sauce onto the bottom of each plate. Top with some spinach, then an egg in a nest, and garnish with more sauce and some basil. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 6 servings.

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Yes, I’m a sucker for stuffed peppers. So I had to make these. Adapted by me to be nondairy, and I used ground turkey in place of the beef, and chicken sausage in place of pork. All-Around Excellent Dish.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

for the sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 cup chicken broth

2 cups prepared marinara sauce

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

for the peppers:

1 pound ground turkey

1/2 pound sweet Italian chicken sausage, casing removed

2 cups cooked rice

1 cup grated soy parmesan

1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

4 large green bell peppers

Add the olive oil to a saucepan, and lightly brown the onions with a large pinch of salt over medium-high heat. Remove half and reserve for the stuffing. Stir in the rest of the sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer. Pour the sauce into the bottom of a large deep casserole dish.

Add the filling ingredients to a mixing bowl, along with the reserved onions, and mix together until combined.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to remove the stem, seeds, and white membrane from each pepper. Place the bell peppers in the casserole dish, and fill each pepper with the stuffing.

Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered for another 30 minutes, or until the peppers are very tender. Serve with the sauce spooned over the top. Makes 8 servings.

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Everything works together so well in this recipe. The corn crepes are simply excellent – like nothing I’ve ever tasted. They perfectly complement the coffee barbecue sauce, with the chicken as the perfect foil. We gobbled ’em up. Thanks, Joanne ~ I followed your directions and it was a splendid meal. Please go to her blog and read the full recipe.

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Inspired by Cook’s Illustrated, adapted to non-dairy, and devoured with blackberries instead of blueberries. Berry explosion.

Blackberry muffins with almond crunch topping


1/3 cup finely ground almonds

4 teaspoons brown sugar


2 cups fresh blackberries

1 1/8 cups sugar, plus 1 teaspoon

2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup finely ground almonds

2 large eggs

4 tablespoons margarine, melted and cooled slightly

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup soy yogurt, thinned with 1/4 cup nondairy creamer

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

Topping: Stir together almonds and sugar in a small bowl until combined; set aside.

Muffins: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray standard muffln tin with nonstick spray. Bring 1 cup blackberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl, and cool to room temperature, 10-15 minutes.

Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and ground almonds together in large bowl. Whisk remaining 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in margarine and oil until combined. Whisk in yogurt and nondairy creamer, vanilla, and almond extract until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup of blackberries into flour mixture until just moistened (batter will be lumpy, but do not overmix).

Spoon batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly). Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into the center of each mound of batter. Using a skewer or chopstick, gently swirl berry filling into batter, using figure-eight motion. Sprinkle almond topping evenly over muffins.

Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 – 19 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through beking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving. Makes a dozen muffins.

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