Chocolate (Nut) Fudge

In my family, there is a “battle” that rages over nuts vs. no nuts in chocolate fudge (and chocolate chip cookies, for that matter.)  However, since I am the cook, the default version of chocolate fudge out of my kitchen contains walnuts.  (My daughter, the texture queen, omits them from her kitchen.)  Nuts add a small measure of health to a not-particularly-healthy food, and besides…I prefer the taste and texture of the fudge with them.  😉  To be honest, nobody has refused to eat it with the nuts yet.  (Although, I believe there has been some surreptitious trading of chocolate vs. peanut butter fudge going on from Christmas stockings in the past.)

This particular recipe I have been making for 12 years.  I have the date at the bottom of the page I printed off those many years ago.  Honestly, it feels like it should be longer than that!  What did I do for fudge before then?  The webpage address was no longer correct, but I did find the original after some searching.  I want to give credit where it is due.  I have written things differently and changed the amount of nuts used.  Here is the link to the original on VegWeb:  Easy Fudge

Update:  Since I wanted to make this fudge while visiting my son, which happened to be over Valentine’s Day, I discovered something.  You don’t have to use a double boiler or a bowl set on top of a pan of boiling water!  You can melt the “butter” in the microwave (carefully!) and then stir in the soymilk.  Heat it for a few more seconds.  Stir in the vanilla and then the dry ingredients.  SO easy!  No more double boiler for me!

Chocolate Fudge

  • 6 T. Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks
  • 1+ tsp. vanilla (you can’t go wrong with extra!)
  • 1/4 c. non-dairy milk (I use Silk vanilla soy)
  • 1/2 c. cocoa powder, sifted (use a small wire mesh strainer if you don’t own a sifter)
  • 3 1/2 c. powdered sugar, sifted (use powdered evaporated cane juice crystals to be completely, truly vegan)
  • 1/2 c. chopped nuts (oh, all right…optional)

Have ready a 5″x9″, or 8″x8″, or even a somewhat smaller pan, preferably glass or ceramic, as the fudge doesn’t stick to it ~ or double the recipe and use a 9″x13″ cake pan, or a smaller lasagna pan.  Different pans will make thicker or thinner pieces of fudge.  If you must use a metal pan, you might want to line it clear up the sides with waxed or parchment paper so that you can just lift it out of the pan to cut it, especially if it has a non-stick coating that you don’t want to mar with the knife.

In the top of a double boiler or in a metal bowl placed over boiling/simmering water in a regular pot, melt the “butter.”  When it is completely melted, add the non-dairy milk and vanilla.  Stir in the cocoa powder, followed by the powdered sugar, stirring until smooth.  Add nuts; stir until well distributed.  Take the pan or bowl off of the boiling water and wipe the bottom of it off on a towel or dishcloth lying on the sink edge or counter so that no boiling water drips on you or into the fudge pan.  Scrape into pan and smooth out to the edges with a rubber spatula.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly.  (It is easier to cut into pieces if you do so before it firms up completely.)  Must be refrigerated.  For storage more than a day or two, keep in an air-tight container.

Don’t forget to call your children or grandchildren to lick off the spoon, spatula, and bowl…and I promise I won’t tell if you call them so very, very quietly that you end up taking care of the job yourself!  😉

Three Fudge Recipes

Oh, boy, oh, boy, oh, boy!  The holidays are coming and that means it’s time to start pulling out the special recipes.  (And, apparently, it’s also time to start learning the settings on my son’s camera a little better so that my photos have consistent lighting!  Sorry about that.)

Some of you may have given up fudge when you became vegan.  Well, guess what?  I’m here to change that for you!  Plus, this year since I’m writing a vegan food blog, I decided that I might need to branch out a little ~ you know, try a few new flavors of fudge other than my standards of chocolate and peanut butter.  (Funny…my family didn’t complain one bit about being guinea pigs for these experiments!  😀  Now you get the fun results of our taste testing.)  The bonus is that these are super easy to make.

Please keep in mind that though this is vegan it is by NO MEANS healthy, every-day food, and it certainly isn’t on Forks Over Knives’ list of what to include in their next cookbook.  It just means that you get to have some fun food on the goody table at your next party so that you aren’t tempted to partake of the even less healthy versions that contain animal products and trans fats.

Let me know what your favorite is!  There are divided opinions in my family for their favorites.  (Chocolate and peanut butter recipes will be coming soon, too.)

Have ready a 5″x9″, or 8″x8″, or even a somewhat smaller pan (pictured is what I used this time), preferably glass or ceramic, as the fudge doesn’t stick to it ~ or double the recipe and use a 9″x13″ cake pan, or a smaller lasagna pan.  Different pans will make thicker or thinner pieces of fudge.  If you must use a metal pan, you might want to line it clear up the sides with waxed or parchment paper so that you can just lift it out of the pan to cut it, especially if it has a non-stick coating that you don’t want to mar with the knife.

Maple Nut Fudge

  • 6 T. Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup
  • 1+ tsp. vanilla (you can’t go wrong with extra!)
  • 1 T. non-dairy milk powder (or however much your brand calls for to make 1 c. of milk – I used Better Than Milk soy)
  • 4 c. powdered sugar, sifted (use powdered evaporated cane juice crystals to be completely, truly vegan)
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts

In the top of a double boiler or in a metal bowl placed over boiling/simmering water in a regular pot, melt the “butter.”  When it is completely melted, add the maple syrup, vanilla, and non-dairy milk powder, whisking until all of the milk powder is dissolved.  Stir in powdered sugar until smooth.  Add nuts; stir until well distributed.  Take the pan or bowl off of the boiling water and wipe the bottom of it off on a towel or dishcloth lying on the sink edge or counter so that no boiling water drips on you or into the fudge pan.  Scrape into pan and smooth out to the edges with a rubber spatula.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly.  (It is easier to cut into pieces if you do so before it firms up completely.)  Must be refrigerated.  For storage more than a day or two, keep in an air-tight container.

Please allow the child within you to clean off the spoon, spatula, and bowl ~ you wouldn’t want any to go to waste would you?  😉

Eggnog Fudge

  • 6 T. Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks
  • 1/4 c. non-dairy milk (I use Silk vanilla soy)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. brandy extract/flavoring
  • 1/2 tsp. rum extract/flavoring
  • 3/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 4 1/4 c. powdered sugar, sifted (use powdered evaporated cane juice crystals to be completely, truly vegan)

In the top of a double boiler or in a metal bowl placed over boiling/simmering water in a regular pot, melt the “butter.”  When it is completely melted, add the non-dairy milk, extracts/flavorings, and nutmeg, stirring to combine.  Stir in powdered sugar until smooth. Take the pan or bowl off of the boiling water and wipe the bottom of it off on a towel or dishcloth lying on the sink edge or counter so that no boiling water drips on you or into the fudge pan.  Scrape into pan and smooth out to the edges with a rubber spatula.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly.  (It is easier to cut into pieces if you do so before it firms up completely.)  Must be refrigerated.  For storage more than a day or two, keep in an air-tight container.

Raspberry Fudge

This particular fudge isn’t as perfected as the other two.  It’s texture tends to be difficult to cut once it’s cold and it wants to break into shards or funny-shaped hunks.  I almost removed it from the post, but decided to include it anyway because it tastes so good.  The next time I make it, I will probably spread it out on waxed paper on a very small cookie sheet – then I will just pull up the paper and break the fudge, rather than cutting it, which seems to cause the problems.  The other option is to add extra Earth Balance to soften it some.

  • 6 T. Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. raspberry syrup (I used Monin brand that I found at a Home Goods Store)
  • 1 T. non-dairy milk powder (or however much your brand calls for to make 1 c. of milk – I used Better Than Milk soy)
  • 3 T. red food coloring (optional)
  • 4 c. powdered sugar, sifted (use powdered evaporated cane juice crystals to be completely, truly vegan)

In the top of a double boiler or in a metal bowl placed over boiling/simmering water in a regular pot, melt the “butter.”  When it is completely melted, add the non-dairy milk, vanilla, raspberry syrup, and food coloring, if using, whisking until all of the milk powder is dissolved.  Stir in powdered sugar until smooth. Take the pan or bowl off of the boiling water and wipe the bottom of it off on a towel or dishcloth lying on the sink edge or counter so that no boiling water drips on you or into the fudge pan.  Scrape into pan and smooth out to the edges with a rubber spatula.  Cover with plastic wrap.  (It is easier to cut into pieces if you don’t refrigerate it first.)  For storage more than a day or two, keep in an air-tight container.  Refrigerate.  Soften on the counter for 30 minutes or so before serving since it tends to be a better texture and not so crumbly then.

Eggnog Snickerdoodles

I love snickerdoodles!  I love eggnog (veggie-style)!  To combine them together?  Oh, yum.  These are chewy and flavorful.  Mmmm…

Eventually, I need to experiment with a gluten-free model, because right now I’m having a terrible time not stuffing one of these into my mouth Cookie-Monster style eating one of these.  The ones you see pictured are actually for my son-in-law’s birthday.  (Never mind that I promised him a batch of these almost a year ago…shhhhh.)

To make them as regular snickerdoodles, omit the rum and brandy extracts/flavorings.  Replace the nutmeg with cinnamon.  That’s about it.

Eggnog Snickerdoodles

  • 3/4 c. Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks
  • 1 1/2 c. evaporated cane juice crystals or sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. rum extract/flavoring
  • 1/2 tsp. brandy extract/flavoring
  • 1 T. Ener-G egg replacer powder (no water)
  • 1/4 c. non-dairy milk (may increase 1-2 T. later if dough seems dry)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 T. soy sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 3/4 c. white whole wheat flour (King Arthur’s or Trader Joe’s brands are my favorites)
  • 1/4 c. evaporated cane juice crystals or sugar
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg

Heat oven to 400°.  Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Combine “butter,” sugar, and extracts/flavorings in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in Ener-G powder and salt.  Add half of the milk, stirring until well combined.  Add the other half of the milk and mix heartily until things are fluffy (a wooden spoon does the best job of this fluffy business.)  Fold in the sour cream.  Mix the cream of tartar and baking soda in, followed by the flour.  Mix 1/4 c. sugar and nutmeg in a cereal bowl.  Roll dough into balls (ping-pong-ball sized) and put into the nutmeg mixture.  Swirl the cereal bowl to cover each cookie completely with sugary nutmeg.  Place on cookie sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes.  Cool on racks.

Yields approximately 40 cookies.

Vegetarian Tasting Extravaganza!

A week ago on Sunday, I participated in the annual Vegetarian Tasting Extravaganza (VTE) that took place at Centerville Seventh-day Adventist Church here in Ohio.  This has been going on for over a decade and is very popular with the vegetarians/vegans in the community.  (There is a health fair that goes on at the same time.)  Between guests, cooks, helpers, and medical folks from the health fair, 300-350 are typically fed from each cook’s table.  Flyers go out to the community, as well as signage being displayed about the event.

Each cook prepares enough of her dish (published in a simple unbound cook”book” available for purchase by guests) to provide 1-2 oz. samples for each of the 300-350 people going through line.  (There are 2 sessions, so that there is enough seating for everyone.)  A salad bar is also provided.  I prepared Southwestern Skillet.

This year was very exciting!  Most of the dishes were vegan or had vegan versions available upon request!  (It’s a good thing, because we actually were visited by the local Meet-Up Vegan Dayton group.)  Also thrilling to me were the number of people who made gluten-free versions of their loaves, crackers, etc.

Live piano music is played in the fellowship hall where the serving is done.  My scheduled time to play for this was at the last half hour.  Unfortunately, by the time I closed up my music and dashed back to the food line (cooks eat last), many of the items were gone!  (We served a very large crowd this year.)  Those I did get to sample were wonderful.  My teen sons and grown daughter gave me the run-down on the rest of them.  🙂

Here are some photos from the VTE ~ by no means all of them.  Click on each photo to see a large version of them.  Thanks go to my son who took the pictures while I was serving my dish. The lighting was relatively dim for photography, but he did a good job.  (Decorations are at the discretion of each cook – from simple place settings showing how their food would be served, to displays of ingredients used, to gorgeous, talented decorations appropriate to their dish.)

 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Huh…Brussels sprouts.  Now there is something not everybody gets excited about!  🙂  There are some of us whose only experience with Brussels sprouts comes from the Swedish Chef.  (You know, from the Muppets?  I can’t help but think of his little routine to make Brussels Sprouts every time I fix them!  What?  You’ve never seen it?  Well, by all means, click here!  It’s worth the snicker!)

I used to run the other way when someone mentioned Brussels sprouts.  Granted, I’d only had very sad, nasty boiled, versions of these little power houses.  When I learned that you could roast them for an entirely different flavor, as well as texture ~ well, I was willing to try them one more time.  (Especially since they wouldn’t go to waste, as J loves them ~ even boiled ~ and would eat them all even if nobody else liked them!)  Think of the difference between boiled potatoes vs. roasted potatoes, or boiled vs. roasted carrots or beets.  Roasting just brings out an incredible flavor in most veggies.

Have you ever seen Brussels sprouts in their natural state?  By the way, that isn’t in a little mesh baggie at the supermarket!  😀  They come on a great big stalk!  They are a challenge for the people at the check-out to bag for you (because I certainly don’t have any ecologically-friendly bags big enough for them, either.)  I wish, wish, wish I’d thought to take a picture of them before I plucked them off and prepared them.  I went back and bought yet another stalk this week just so I could take a picture…and to make J happy ~ and, apparently, the cat, who went nuts and ‘mugged’ me when I brought the pan out of the oven.  ;D  I purchased mine at Trader Joe’s.  They were/are the freshest Brussels sprouts I’d ever seen.  Of course, you have to keep an eye on them, because one week they might not appear quite as hearty ~ last week they didn’t.  Look for tight, healthy, mini-cabbage-like sprouts.

I encourage you to try this method of preparing a much-maligned veggie.  🙂

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  • a stalk or a bag of Brussels sprouts
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt ~ coarse sea salt is the best here (the amount in the picture was a little much…oooo, salty!)

 

Preheat your oven to 425°.  Pick sprouts off of the stalk, or out of the bag, and rinse.  Remove any beat-up leaves.  From ones on the stalk, trim any stem ends off that seem long; trim all ends from the bagged ones to leave fresh stems ends.  If your sprouts are not tiny ones, cut them carefully in half so that you don’t lose a lot of little leaves.  Toss all of them together in a mixing bowl, with generously drizzled olive oil, and salt.  Place them on a cookie sheet or, if absolutely necessary, a cake pan (remember ~ if you were generous with the oil, they won’t stick very much later!)  You can use parchment paper, but that tends to hold the moisture and doesn’t allow for the browning you want.  Here is the secret to doing this the right way so that you don’t end up with steamed sprouts (bleh, bleh, nasty!) ~ make certain that the sprouts do not touch each other as much as possible.  (See the picture above.)  They need room to put off moisture.  Bake them until they are beginning to blacken (I know, I know…that doesn’t sound tasty, but trust me on this one.) ~ about 20-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve immediately with extra salt and lemon juice, if desired, to taste.

 

Thanksgiving Soy Curls and Gravy

A couple of weeks ago I won a package of Butler soy curls from Somer over at Vedged Out.  I love soy curls.  They are versatile and cooperative to work with.  This time I needed them to step up in a big way.  Let me explain….

Yesterday I made the weekly trek to the health food store.  On my list was our Thanksgiving entree.  We’re reading labels more carefully these days than ever before due to increased allergies.  (Hubby and I really should avoid wheat and my sil cannot get a hold of anything from the cruciferous family or the sunflower/safflower seed/oil family.)  It was time to really check out every single ingredient in the roll we buy once a year.  Now, mind you, this single time out of the year we have been known to wink at some egg whites for this particular tradition.  (GASP!)  However, not only did our traditional long-looked-forward-to entree have eggs in it, but now it had non-fat milk, too.  Oh, and did I mention that vital wheat gluten plays a major roll in its creation, as well?  *sigh and ugh*  I called hubby to get his opinion on what to do.  This was, after all, just about his only tradition that matters to him (that and frosted sugar cookies at Christmas) and he has not wanted to give it up in the past.  He told me, “Hon, I trust your creative powers to whip up something great to replace it, either with soy curls, or something else.  We can try it out this week and if we really aren’t excited by it, then we’ll visit the possibility of buying the roll of fake stuff.”

How can a girl not take up such an encouraging challenge?  🙂  I bought some portabella mushrooms and headed for home.

The jury was divided on this dish.  Out of 5 of us, 2 loved it, 2 thought it was okay, and 1 said that with extra salt it was pretty good (this from the guy who salts everything before he tastes even it.)  One of the guys asked if I could do half this way and half BBQ!  lol

I think when I make this on Thanksgiving, I will tweak it a little bit more.  I am going to add an extra tablespoon of chicken-style seasoning into the soy curls (already included below), and toss in a little bit of minced garlic.  Perhaps one of your favorite dried herbs could make an appearance in it, if you wish.  If you experiment, please let me know what you do.

Thanksgiving Soy Curls

  • 2 c. water
  • 2-4 T. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, depending on how salty you want it to be
  • 4+ T. chicken-style seasoning
  • 1 tsp. rubbed sage
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 6 c. soy curls
  • 8 oz. portabella mushrooms, diced
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • extra virgin olive oil

In a very large frying pan or a Dutch oven, combine water, Bragg’s, and seasonings and heat on high.  Add soy curls and toss.  When it comes to a boil, turn the heat off and continue turning the soy curls over and over until all of the water is absorbed.  Scrape into a bowl and set aside.  In the same frying pan, saute the mushrooms and onions in the olive oil until softened.  Transfer the soy curls back to the frying pan and mix everything together.  Continue heating everything until the soy curls are toasty warm again.  Serve with gravy.

~~~~~~~

This gravy recipe is mildly adapted from a cookbook called Vegetarian For Life (although I believe all the recipes in it are actually vegan.)

“Chicken” Gravy

  • 1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 c. brown rice or barley flour (I recommend the barley flour if you are not gluten intolerant.  In a pinch, you could use whole wheat, but the flavor pales in comparison.)
  • 3 T. chicken-like seasoning
  • 2 T. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 4 c. water

In a 2-quart saucepan, mix the oil with the flour and chicken seasoning.  Stir in the Bragg’s.  Gradually stir in the first 2 cups of water until it is smooth and getting thin; then add all of the last 2 cups.  Heat, stirring often, and finally stirring constantly as it begins to thicken.  When it boils, turn the heat down and simmer to desired thickness.

This can be made a day ahead ~ just be aware that it will thicken upon standing, so you won’t want to simmer it very long.  It will thicken some as you reheat it.

Baked Sweet Potato

  • (My promised post about the Vegetarian Tasting Extravaganza will have to wait.  Alas, my son’s memory card with all of the pictures he took is at his friend’s house.  They do a professional-quality video of the event, and his video clips are being uploaded for integration.)

Okay, so this is hardly a recipe.  But sometimes isn’t it nice to be reminded of a simple thing to make?  I love sweet potatoes anyway they are prepared, but this is a great hands-off way to make them while you are busy with something else.  Plus, it makes your house smell amazing!

Because a sweet potato has so many nutrients in it (I’ve read you could subsist on it alone on a desert island and remain healthy), it can be your whole meal if you aren’t very hungry, or it can be the main dish, especially if you sprinkle it with chopped pecans, or just a simple side dish.  If you drizzle it with maple syrup, it’s a lot like dessert, too!  😀  What a versatile little thing the baked sweet potato is.

Baked Sweet Potatoes

  • 1 large sweet potato for each person
  • Vegan “butter”
  • maple syrup
  • salt, if desired
  • chopped pecans, optional

Preheat oven to 350-425° depending on how fast you want them to get done, or how large/fat your potatoes are.  Scrub the sweet potatoes and place them on a foil-covered cookie sheet so that they don’t touch each other.  Stab them a few times with a fork or sharp knife.  Bake for 1-2 hours (again, it depends on how hot your oven is and how big your potatoes are.) What you want is juices bubbling out of those stabs you gave them and crystalizing, or even blackening, as it drizzles down the potatoes and onto the foil.  They will be intensely sweet if the juices have blackened and you might not even need any maple syrup.  (Nah, you’re right…put the maple syrup on it anyway!  Yum!)  Poke them with a knife to make sure they are soft in the middle.

To serve, place on individual plates and split open.  Add vegan butter and drizzle maple syrup over them to taste, mashing it all together with your fork.  Sprinkle with salt and/or chopped pecans, if desired.

Another option is to remove the skins altogether and toss them onto the foil-covered pan, which allows you to wrap them all up in that foil and dispose of it in one big heap.  There.  Pan cleaned.  😀

Airport Food for Vegans

Going out to eat just anywhere can be a serious challenge for vegans unless they are content with yet another salad and unadorned baked potato.  However, traveling where your choices are limited by whatever is in the airport ~ now you’ve got a real challenge!  Today I don’t have a recipe ~ just some places in a couple of airports to find real live vegan food.

In September, I took a flight out to California.  I had no trouble, because I packed a meal for myself and ate well.  On the flight back, though, all I managed to wrangle for myself easily was a good-sized bag of trail mix that I made for myself.  Now, this can keep you from starving, but it can be very boring and make you long for something different.  (Especially if you don’t put chocolate chips in it!  What is trail mix without chocolate chips?  lol)

Oh, I forgot to mention…I had to be dropped off at LAX at 6:30 in the morning so that my son could make it back for his rotation at the hospital (he’s in medical school.)  My flight didn’t leave until about noon.  I did eat a very, very early breakfast ~ we’re talking 4:30 a.m. here! ~ but that only gets you so far.  By the time the bargain company I was flying opened their desk at 9:15 or later, I was just about ready to go find food already!

I ran the gauntlet of the TSA and headed for the pricey food vendors.  Not only was I trolling to see what they had for vegans, but I needed to avoid wheat, too, if I at all could.  I passed by pizzas and stale-looking fruit cups.  I was afraid this just wasn’t going to be pretty.  I was momentarily arrested by a See’s Candy kiosk where I almost succumbed to the lure!!

Finally I came across a lovely little corner where there was a family-run business ~ Camacho’s Cafe ~ complete with seating.  (From what I read on their signs, they have at least one other location in LA that is doing very nicely.)  A quick perusal of the menu made me very, very happy!  I ordered a veggie fajita (that came with either wheat or corn tortillas) and some incredible guacamole on a bed of shredded lettuce.  They had a beautiful set-up with fresh salsas to choose from, too.  I couldn’t believe how much they’d packed into this little corner!  And the food was amazing.  I was so happy to have found healthy, vegan food at Terminal 1 at LAX!

Next stop was Atlanta airport.  (Man, that place is HUGE!!)  I was thankful I had enough time to mosey around and find food there, too, because it had been 8 hours since my fajita with only trail mix on which to subsist!  (My airline only gives out wheat products for snacks, and tiny ones at that, so I was happy to have my stash.)  Apparently, some of the concourses in Atlanta have more food options than others.  Also, the later it gets, the fewer things are open!  I was so hungry for something starchy ~ hang the calories.  After a few less-than-what-I-was-looking-for options, I finally found what hit the spot.  A place called Charley’s Steakery.  Doesn’t that sound like the best place for a vegan to find food??  😀  They had lovely fruit bowls for decent prices that had fresh pineapple, honeydew melon, strawberries, blueberries, etc., and to give me my starch fix, steak fries!  (Yeah, probably not the greatest option for a health-minded person, but I was exhausted, hungry, and beyond caring at that point.  It was food.  It wasn’t wheat or animal-based, and it didn’t come from Mickey D’s.  I was eating it.)

All in all, I highly recommend planning ahead so that you aren’t going to starve if your airport doesn’t have the options that mine did.  (By the time I got home to Dayton, every single restaurant was locked up tight!)  But don’t count out unusual places to find good food!  Happy flying.

Sometime in the next post or so, I am going to feature a wonderful local event called the Vegetarian Tasting Extravaganza.  It was just marvelous and filled with vegan food this year!  If I can contact some of the cooks, I’m going to see if I can feature some of their recipes, too.

Chili

There is nothing quite as satisfying on some cold evenings as a bowl of good chili and a piece of cornbread to go with it.  This simple recipe doesn’t taste simple at all.  Grab a bowl and a spoon and dig in!

Chili

  • 3-4 onions, chopped
  • 2-3 T. extra virgin olive oil or water
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans chili beans, undrained
  • 1 28-oz or 2 14-oz. cans of diced tomatoes, undrained (one may be zesty style) or crushed tomatoes
  • 10-16 oz. frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 c. frozen corn
  • 1 c. water (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Marmite or Vegex paste (optional, but really adds a lot of depth of flavor ~ if you prefer, add some South African Smoked Seasoning Blend and/or Spike to achieve that depth.)
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • salt to taste
  • soy sour cream and vegan “cheese” to top each bowl as desired

Saute onions in olive oil or water until they lose their stiffness and relax onto the bottom of the pan, but not until they are completely soft.  (This leaves them with just a little bit of texture in the finished stew to contrast the soft beans and the crisp corn ~ for crispier corn, add it just a couple of minutes before serving.  This both cooks the corn just enough to leave it crisp, and cools the chili a tad so that it doesn’t burn your mouth when you chow down.)  Add garlic for about 1 minute.  Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer until spinach is tender.  Serve with soy sour cream and/or non-dairy cheese.

Fun Recipe Recommendation

Every once in a while a recipe comes across my computer that I just have to share.  This one is just plain ol’ fun and silly ~ but the most fun is in the comments.  If there are any other recipe bloggers or die-hard readers of online recipes out there, you will especially find it funny in comparison to the usual commentary found at the bottom of a recipe!

Take a look at this one, put your tongue firmly in your cheek, and laugh for a while!  (The 1st page of the comments was where the funniest things were.)

Click here to see the recommended recipe.