• Personally speaking….

    Just the thoughts and cookings of a software engineer that likes to make foodstuffs from time to time in the bay area of California.
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Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s that time of year! Not only are potlucks a plenty, but so is what fills up our jeans. How to balance out trying new recipes but to make sure we don’t need to buy new clothes to fit? I look around to see what are the tried and true recipes so that hopefully I don’t have to tweak (taste) too much.

I haven’t had a vegan chocolate chip cookie since my birthday and it was premade. It wasn’t quite like the cookie I was raised on — Toll House. I found about five different chocolate chip recipes but ended up going with this one because it read very similar to that Toll House recipe found on the bag of chips.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies-Like They Should Be

by tinymuffinflower
Serves: 3 dozen, Preparation time: 10 minutes

  • 3/4 cup raw sugar (Sugar in the Raw Turbinado)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (Trader Joe’s Organic)
  • 1 cup vegan margarine (Earth Balance Original)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/3 cup and 1 teaspoon applesauce (Walmart brand unsweetened)
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt (Kosher)
  • 1 (12 ounce) bag vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips (Trader Joe’s)

Heat oven to 370 degrees Fahrenheit. Beat sugars, margarine, vanilla, and applesauce together in a large bowl.

Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt.  (Dough will be somewhat stiff). Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet.  Used 2 spoons to help keep the dough from touching my fingers and to keep it easy to plop. Bake for 10-15 minutes (Check at 10… they firm up with cooling.), or until light brown. Cool.

The verdict?

Excellent! Very rich! I couldn’t tell it was veganized. I’ll test it out on my mom this weekend.

I cooked them on parchment paper and moved the parchment paper and cookies to a cooling rack after taking from the oven.

Remember that Toll House cookie recipe I was raised on? Well, Mom would substitute Butter flavored Crisco for the butter so really keep the softness of the cookie. When I would use butter, it would spread and be crispier. I prefer the soft type. This was that even when taken fresh from the fridge.

I followed exactly as written and took them out at 10 minutes. They hardened a little with cooling. The color is darker than the usual non-vegan version but that’s probably because the raw sugar is dark. And there’s a gritty sugary texture because of the turbinado. But the second batch weren’t as gritty — because the dough sat in the fridge? Also, it’s crispier on the edges. I’m guessing the crispier on the edges because of Earth Balance. I’d like to try with a finer vegan white sugar but it seems turbinado is good for holding moisture so I’ll probably stick to what worked. I’ve seen so many crumbly vegan cookies, y’know.

Served with almond milk, the only non-dairy milk that I’ve found I can drink straight.

Cookbook Challenge: BBQ Black-eyed Pea-Collard Rolls

2009 Cookbook Challenge: Cook a new recipe at least once a month from one of my currently owned cookbooks. Each new recipe I cook and post from a cookbook in my collection “earns” me $5.

Recipe 5: BBQ Black-eyed Pea-Collard Rolls from Veganomicon (Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero)

2009 Cookbook Challenge Total: $25

BBQ Black-eyed pea-collard rolls

It was like this:
Snow

So I made this:
BBQ Black-eyed pea-collard rolls

Yep, our first snow of the year! I got to see some snow a month ago when I went up to Chincoteague, though. Since we had a snow day, I used the time to use up the random collards and mushrooms that I had in the fridge. I guess I knew in advance that I would have a random snow day and that I would want to spend a lot of time getting the stove messy.

The recipe is available here on Google books. These were a lot of work, I think, considering. It tasted good and there are plenty rolls and barbecue sauce in the fridge for later. If they heat up well, then I could see doing this again to make them ahead. They make a lovely presentation, at least.

I made the black-eyed peas from a bag in the pantry. I figure I’ll freeze the extra. Or maybe grab another bunch of collard greens and have just the innards of this as a delicious side!

Other Cookbook Challenge entries »

Cookbook Challenge: Tofu Scramble

2009 Cookbook Challenge: Cook a new recipe at least once a month from one of my currently owned cookbooks. Each new recipe I cook and post from a cookbook in my collection “earns” me $5.

Recipe 4: Tofu Scramble from Yellow Rose Recipes (Joanna Vaught)

2009 Cookbook Challenge Total: $20

Tofu Scramble

I made a tofu scramble for the first time last week and, to my surprise, really enjoyed it. I think most of the vegan cookbooks have a recipe for a tofu scramble and I don’t mind giving them a try — now.

I made this in my cast iron pan and thought it went well. Yes, learning still how to cook in cast iron but cleanup was easy with a little salt. I think, though, that I prefer the texture of the other tofu scramble that was crumbled into the pan. Vaught’s (photo above) version called for cubing the tofu, sauteing it for a few minutes, and adding a spice mixture later. There’s not a nutritional yeast flake in sight.

Also, I learned something with the seeding of the tomato before putting it in. Great idea!

I like the options she has listed like Pesto, Savory Mustard,  Greek, and Mexican. Now that I have this jar of this spice mixture, I guess I will have to make more tofu scramble. OK! Fine by me!

I served this with a couple slices of toasted wheat bread (no honey in ingredients… checked) and Earth Balance spread on top. Not necessarily a diet meal, but I was surprised when I learned that this was fewer calories than the 2 scrambled eggs in butter I was eating on weekends.

Not vegan yet, but at least I think I have finally found a replacement for scrambled eggs! Didn’t miss them either time I did a tofu scramble like I thought I would.

Other Cookbook Challenge entries »

Roti

Roti

I had this aloo gobi, right? So I thought, “What about some Indian bread to go with it?” I saw this and thought I could make that with what I have on hand! And, Manjula made it look so easy. I can’t wait to try more of her recipes!

I used the new cast iron skillet and used a little canola oil on it. The oil smoked at that high heat (medium-high). The first one was puffing some and I did the turn around thing she did. It didn’t puff as much as hers though but I think it was because I was scared to push on the bubbles. I’ll push on them next time like she says to. I didn’t use ghee. Oh, and I used plain white flour because the whole wheat decided to expire on me.

Now, I wasn’t sure how to “serve” it so kinda used it like a tortilla a little bit. I pushed some aloo gobi on it, folded the sides a little and ate the end of the taco. Oh man, was that good! I didn’t miss the ghee at all.

Aloo Gobi

Aloo Gobi
Aloo Gobi (home version)

Lunch
Aloo Gobi (work version)

At work, they served Aloo Gobi. It wasn’t what I thought it would be, so I decided to make it at home. I don’t think I’ve had it before, otherwise. I liked the home version better.

Now, since I hadn’t had it before in an Indian restaurant, I wasn’t sure what I thought it would be like. I did know I expected something spicier. Not necessarily hotter but spicier. You know? So, I turned to trusty ol’ recipezaar and sorted by rating and found this recipe: Aloo Gobi. It said it was from Bend It Like Beckham. I saw the movie so maybe that’s why the cafeteria version was off to me.

And then there were the tweaks/substitutions….

I didn’t have cumin seed, so I used ground cumin. I wasn’t sure of the ginger or garlic measurements, so I used 1″ of ginger and 5 cloves of garlic. I wasn’t sure of can size, so I used 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes that was on sale. I didn’t have chili powder — thought I did — so used ground red cayenne pepper. I wasn’t sure about the stem/leaf thing on the cilantro and got tired of ripping off the leaves so think I ended up using just 1/2 a bunch. Was tasty still. Also, didn’t use 1/4 cup oil. Used more like 1.5 T canola oil. The potatoes cooked up in 20 minutes because I chopped them bite-sized. I also cut the cauliflower bite sized and it kinda went fall-aparty at the end. Still good though. I didn’t wait as long as possible — ok, maybe I did. The length of time was as soon as the beeper went off that it was done. Very tasty! Spicy but not hot, until I dumped more cayenne in it.

I need a bigger saucepan. I need that in between larger than the saucepan size I have but smaller than the small stockpot. It was pretty full but cooked OK. Stirring was a challenge. I liked that it was one pot meal though! Lots of compost/stock waste generated too.

I was cooking for one so let it cool then put most of it in a large freezer bag. Laid it flat, got the extra air out, cooled more in the fridge — just to be sure — then put it in the freezer flat.

Cookbook Challenge: Cast iron story time

I got distracted by this that and the other thing but I was still doing various whatnots. I know. I’m so specific. School starts this week too. Hey, want to hear a story of a girl’s first use of cast iron?

Gather ’round now.

Once upon a time, a mother used cast iron to cook. Her daughter watched and learned how to clean it after use. This was the same mother who made fried chicken, hamburger helper, tacos, and bacon.

The girl grew up — chronologically, at least.

One day, she stopped her mother from donating the cast iron and kept them. “Ok, now what?” she asked herself. You see, she’d become vegetarian again so wasn’t sure if she wanted to use the pans as is.

IMG_2022

She researched and researched but got lazy. She bought a combo pot from Lodge. Well, she figured if she’s going to ‘ruin’ something, she’s going to do it with cheap Lodge pan and not pans that are older than she is.

The new cast iron

In the research, she read that the first few times should be frying things like chicken, hamburger or bacon. Well, that was out but she could do pancakes with a heavy hand on the oil. After finding a recipe in a cookbook — yay for the challenge (see end of post for status) — she set to work.

Cast iron "fun"

The first batch was not a success. Even though the recipe said medium-high, she found that way too hot. The next batch was on medium and still too hot.

Final heat

She then found the right heat (above), just in time.

Pancakes

The pancakes were good. She ended up getting two at the end for her breakfast. But what about eggs? Will they be a mess to clean up? (Lovely progressive shot of burned to not so burned.)

Pancakes and eggs

Nope. They were wonderful and fluffy. So odd how fluffy they were.

She cleaned the pan like her mother did with hot water, brush and then oil when it was dry. She stored the top on the bottom with a folded kitchen towel between, to allow air to circulate.

The End…. (or is it?)


2009 Cookbook Challenge: Cook a new recipe at least once a month from one of my currently owned cookbooks. Each new recipe I cook and post from a cookbook in my collection “earns” me $5.

Recipe 3: Pancakes from Vegan with a Vengeance (Isa Chandra Moskowitz)

2009 Cookbook Challenge Total: $15

The recipe was from Vegan with a Vengeance. My change: I folded in 1 cup of drained, canned corn. I let it rest in the fridge for 10 minutes as she suggested and I think that really did help!

Other Cookbook Challenge entries »

Inspired by Clara: Pasta with peas

Pasta with peas
Inspired by Clara’s Pasta with peas and her “Depression Era Cooking” videos, I reached into my 10 pound bag of potatoes and got to work. As I played with potatoes and onions, I thought back to what I remember growing up. What dish was my Grandma “famous” for? And what do I remember most from my mother’s cooking? After Mom grabbed her bowl, we talked about it.

Me: Know what I remember most about Grandma’s cooking? Delmonico steak with salt, pepper and garlic powder. (Grandma and I both are garlic fiends.)
Mom: That’s all?
Me: Yeah. Weird, huh? I know she could cook anything and remember all the family holiday gatherings where she would cook. But that was just ham and turkey and collards and whatnot.

We then talked about how amazing of a cook my Grandma was. But Mom said she didn’t think Grandma loved to cook. Maybe that’s why I can’t remember much? Near the end, Grandma and I would talk about cooking and it was mostly about sneaking ground turkey breast into Grandpa’s food or how versatile egg white omelets were. I’m going to try and get some clippings that my aunt got when we — well, you know… went through the stuff left behind. Most everyone was in Grandma’s head but maybe I can get an idea from what she clipped out and that will help.

Me: Mom, know what I think of when I think back to your cooking?
Mom: No, what? (I could hear the ‘uh oh’ in her voice.)
Me: Hamburger soup, tuna surprise*, succotash, hamburger helper, tuna helper, chicken helper — yeah, one pot meals.

* Tuna surprise is kind of like a tuna casserole cooked in a saucepan on the stove.

Now, back to Clara. I loved how she said she would ask what’s for dinner and get as an answer: “Pasta with garlic.” “Pasta with peas.” Etc. I had pasta, including a box that had a “use by” date of 2007 — oops, yes, that was tossed, sigh — and some potatoes. Like I said, I bought this 10 pound bag of potatoes cause I was crazy being frugal.

I wanted to get the consistency of a “hamburger helper” type meal because I want something that could hold its own on a plate with some sides. I got something more soupy, but I measured so maybe I can get closer next time.

Pasta with Peas ++
The ++ means I added more stuff… of course.

  • Olive oil
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups macaroni, uncooked
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 cups frozen peas (keep frozen)
  • 2 baking potatoes, peeled, diced
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped

Saute onions and potatoes in olive oil on medium heat till potatoes are softened. I think this took me about 15 minutes and I used a small stock pot. Add salt, pepper, water, peas. Bring to a boil. Add pasta. Boil for 10 minutes. Toss in parsley. Cook for 1 minute. This is where I added the carrots cause the pasta with peas was slightly soupy. Considering I ladled off about 1.5 cups, I’ll reduce the water amount next time. Maybe. The “stock” this all made was very good. I was heavy handed with the salt like Clara but Mom still added salt to her bowl. Ha.

Sauteed Carrots
I ended up dumping this into the Pasta with Peas at the end

  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper

I cooked the carrots in a skillet while I cooked the pasta with peas. The carrots kept browning too quickly on medium heat so I would ‘cool’ them off with a ladle of water from the pasta. I think it added a lovely flavor. I’m not a fan of carrots but these turned out nicely. I think they cooked for about 20 minutes sometimes covered and sometimes not. I tossed them into the pot of pasta right before serving and after the parsley. It added a nice color but since the carrots didn’t cook with the pasta, it had its own flavor but was somewhat familiarized with the ladles of water from the pasta.

Pasta with Peas (and carrots)
Nutrition Facts (via recipezaar)
Serving Size 1 (506g) Recipe makes 5 servings
Points 7
Calories 328
Calories from Fat 80 (24%)
Amount Per Serving %DV
Total Fat 9.0g 13%
Saturated Fat 1.3g 6%
Monounsaturated Fat 6.0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.2g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 42mg 1%
Potassium 640mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 54.6g 18%
Dietary Fiber 5.1g 20%
Sugars 5.0g
Protein 8.1g 16%

Some others that tried her recipe: